A three-goal deficit turned into a 25-goal win for The Bubz in their Friday night Northland premier netball clash against Naumai at Whangārei Girls' High School.
Defence was the key on the night in the 65-40 Bubz win as neither shooting end was very strong to begin with. Bubz defenders, Alisha Takimoana and Sue-Ann Nesbit, worked well together and effectively cancelled out Naumai's threat at their attacking end.
The Bubz were their own worst enemies in the first quarter as poor connections between the mid-court and shooting circle meant a lot of their possession was wasted. Naumai went into the first quarter break, 13-10 up as a result.
The second quarter saw The Bubz refine their play in the shooting circle and lead by two at halftime. Naumai had little answer to their opposition's fluidity through the court and found themselves trailing 43-28 with a quarter to go.
Knowing they had the victory, The Bubz became more ambitious in their play, heaving long balls into the circle for shooter Creole Wallace to reel in. Most of their efforts in the final quarter paid off for The Bubz, who finished with their third win in four games.
In Friday's first game, Whangārei Girls' High School (WGHS) earned a hard-fought 63-36 win against Wahine Toa.
The school team playing on home turf looked comfortable on the scoreboard, leading by at least eight goals at every interval. However, they had to contend with Wahine Toa's physical style of play.
Wahine Toa goal-shoot Maria Himiona was a force to be reckoned with for the WGHS defence, but with a more structured mid-court and attack, the home side couldn't be shaken from registering their second win of the competition.
"We're happy with the win, it's a good confidence builder for our girls and it was nice for us to get our whole squad on the court and give them a run," WGHS team manager Nicky Taylor said.
"We are starting to settle in to our combinations which is good to see."
Wahine Toa 1 suffer close loss to Naumai
The Bubz take home maiden premier win
WGHS' structure was given a boost with the return of Auckland Beko Netball League player Jessie Taylor, who was resolute in defence and matched the standard set by the opposition's shooters.
Manager Taylor said Wahine Toa were a staunch side to come up against and their physicality proved a real challenge for WGHS to overcome.
"[Wahine Toa] didn't give up and definitely brought some physicality to the game, but I thought our girls didn't give up either and kept trying to find different ways to combat that.
"We've still got stuff to work on, but we are pretty excited and there's a good feeling within the team."
In the late game on Friday, Manawanui White continued their dominance of the premier competition with their fourth consecutive win, a 67-40 victory over Whangaruru.
Similar to previous weeks, Manawanui's speed and accuracy with the ball proved too much for the opposition. Manawanui goal-shoot Jaelyn Walker put in another consistent performance, showing her prowess physically and in the air.
At the other end of the court, Manawanui goal-keep Bella Drinnan wrecked havoc for Whangaruru's shooters, claiming at least eight clean intercepts and partnering well with goal-defence Tawera Taylor.
Manawanui held a comfortable lead throughout the game and despite a gutsy effort in defence for Whangaruru, the league-leaders secured the win by a big margin.