Upset. What upset? From where netball coach Rebecca Martin sketches her combat operations at courtside it is all about playing percentages this season.
A per cent in shooting here and a goal or two there at the final buzzer has been the difference for Martin's Hastings High School Old Girls' Proactive Huia this winter.
"We've lost two games by one point so we've been there or thereabouts this season but, yeah, I wouldn't call it an upset," she says after Huia inflict the first loss on table-topping All In Tremains Elusive in round six of the shield format of the Karamu Holden Super 8 netball competition last Friday.
"We just played a good 55-minute match," says Martin of the match at the Pettigrew-Green Arena, Taradale. "We haven't quite got to 60 yet but we're slowly putting it together, yes."
Huia trailed 13-16 in the first quarter, 11-12 in the second and levelled 11-11 in the third before a resounding 15-9 statement in the final spell.
Collectively, they shot 81 per cent to pip All In by one per cent with Huia goal shoot Judy Brown sharing a match-high 87 per cent accolades with All In's Kathleen Tuaputa-Nahora who switched from GS to GA bibs at halftime.
Martin interpreted that as better consistency, albeit in a high-scoring affair and weak spells in the first three quarters.
Having rolled everyone on the squad on court she was satisfied individuals fulfilled their portfolios in adhering to the blueprint to find a fourth place on the ladder on equal 16 points below Outkast Optimise Physio.
"The strength of our team is that we're a nine-strong one and we'll have Abby Hall [nee Breakwell] who will join us for the rest of the season which will be exciting," she says of the midcourter and former skipper who was courtside but didn't play although she has been playing for the HHSOG BM Accounting Kea in the premier one competition on Saturday mornings.
Thirsty Whale Otane also caused a shuffle in the ladder when they jumped to the second rung after pipping Outkast 39-37 after claiming the first two quarters 9-6, 11-9, respectively, before free-falling 8-15 in the third but rebounding 11-7 in the final spell.
Otane, remarkably, shot only 70 per cent collectively to Outkast's 88 although, noticeably, the ever-reliable Rakei Sa'ena had a match-high 90 per cent in the GA bib in the second half only. Otane's Melissa Te Huki shot at 82 per cent, starting with the GS bib in the third spell for a GA one to the end.
"I think that just talks to the [number] of balls that went down to the shooting circle, basically, so we just weren't able to finish off the balls we got, really," says shooter/coach Tammy Kupa.
Kupa saluted defenders Briar Chalmers (GD) and former NGHS player Valentine Kahukura (GK), who both played every minute, but highlighted the prowess of Te Huki, Chris Leppien and Sarona Fruean adding value to the shooting circle with her while nursing niggly injuries.
"Going into the last quarter we were down by two so we had to do quite a bit of work to get back," she says, emphasising they have only lost two games to Huia and All In by a goal and two, respectively.
Kupa says the potential of Otane will be evident once they all attain peak fitness.
Central Sports Vet Services had the measure of Havelock North House of Travel Kauri with a 46-38 result in a wake-up second quarter (13-9, 8-11, 13-8, 12-10) to avoid the temptation of reaching for the snooze button.
"I haven't got Irene [van Dyk] yet," says a jovial Central coach Jeanette Oliver, alluding to interest in the former Silver Ferns shooter residing in Poraiti, the outskirts of Napier.
Like Otane, Central came up shy in the collective shooting stakes to Kauri (78-73 per cent) but still won. Kauri GA Michelle Bazalo had a match-high 89 per cent while backing up GS Tania Laking for three quarters.
However, Kirby Beach (76 per cent) shared the GA/GS bibs with Ally Hislop (75) and co-skipper Isabelle Crawshaw (67) to see them over the line.
"I just changed our game plan to what we usually play so we looked at another way of trying to look after the ball more when we turn it over," says Oliver, realising it wasn't so much the shooting rate as feeding the ball in the circle that was an issue.
That is a work in progress in training before the final shield round match against Outkast, who play an open and clean game, on Friday.
"We love playing them because they have great sportsmanship on the court," she says.
Central will be without Kirby and fellow shooter Georgina Campbell who are away overseas.
"We know we have a big ask to make the top four now with the shooters away for three to four weeks so we'll just have to build other combinations," says Oliver of the championship round starting in a fortnight as a fresh competition.
Napier Girls' High School Firsts took ownership of the second half to beat Hastings Girls' High School Firsts 53-44.
The shield/championship defending champions led 12-10, drew 13-13, then bounced back with 16-10 to weather an HGHS storm in the final spell, 12-15, for the win.
One percent (78-77) in favour of NGHS was all that separated the schoolgirl sides collectively in the shooting circle.
"It was reasonably convincing because we were quite slow until the third quarter," says NGHS shooter Janayah Lewis who slipped off the GA bib for the GS one to sit a per cent shy of a match-high 82 per cent from HGHS goal attack Liana Mikaele-Tu'u. Caitlin Smith (74 per cent) and Samantha Taylor (75, 2nd quarter only) backed Lewis.
"We just needed to lift and I just knew we had more to give," says Lewis of the defining NGHS third spell.
However, the 17-year-old lauded defenders GD Jamie Tapine and GK Kiah McCorkindale (with Charlotte Turner in for her in second quarter) for making crucial intercepts.
"Hastings Girls don't give up easily and kept up with us all the way," she says of HGHS who will be relegated after the last round.
While there's a tinge of disappointment in not retaining the shield, Lewis says their focus is on the championship because they haven't reached their potential yet.
For rd 7 and the final round of the Shield competition on Friday at the Pettigrew-Green Arena:
■ 6pm: HHSOG Huia v HGHS, PG 1.
■ 6pm: All In v Havelock North Kauri, PG 2.
■ 7.30pm: Otane v NGHS, PG 1.
■ 7.30pm: Central v Outkast, PG 2.
After rd 6 of matches: All In 20pts, Otane 17, Outkast 16, Huia 16, Kauri 12, Central 10, NGHS 9, HGHS 0.