Netball Wanganui junior representative teams earned three runners-up placings in their respective Molly Dorne tournaments in Levin on Saturday.
Despite a long delay due to the late arrival of the bus to take them south, the Year 7 team won all three of their pool games, beating Kapiti 26-15, Northern Suburbs 15-12 in a closer match, then Motu Kairangi 22-14.
They would then have to go into overtime in both their semifinal and the final.
First, Hutt Valley Gold were beaten 24-22, then the tired Wanganui girls backed up against Manawatu in a game that went goal for goal for some time before Wanganui went down 24-22 against strong defence.
Coach Rochelle Howard said the team showed amazing resilience and determination, many slipping in the rain, but always getting up and carrying on.
The Year 8 side also had a rocky start due to transport problems, taking the court for their opening match only two minutes before the bell rang.
They settled into the game with Hutt Valley Gold, leading 13-12 at halftime with Imogen Flower (GA) and Montel Aki (GS) outstanding with their shooting and combination.
Rebecca Tamati (C) and Teagan Tapa (WA) also combined well to feed the shooters, keeping the midcourt pace quick and mostly error free.
Talitua Leo came on to replace Shanice Campbell for the final quarter, but Wanganui were unable to retain the lead as Hutt Valley pulled away to win 25-22.
Wanganui then won their remaining three games, bringing impact players Leo, Emma Haitana, and O'Sharn Kata off the bench to show their individual flair, determination and skill.
Kapiti were beaten 30-6, Wairarapa 39-4 and Wellington West 23-14, delighting Wanganui coach Te Ora Nyman.
Meanwhile the Under-17 Development team finished joint runners-up for their grade at Molly Dorne in their last outings of a short campaign.
Wanganui also lost their first game to their Hutt Valley opponent 21-16, but went on to beat Wellington Gold 28-13 and Kapiti 19-18, then drew with Horowhenua 17-17.
There were blood, sweat, and even tears to finish off tied in the last match against their rival from previous tournaments.
It finished the Development team's season where they came ninth at the Palmerston North tournament (12 teams) and second in Wanganui (four teams).
The team thanked manager Tiffany Ihaka-Candy and official scorekeeper Linda Lott, as well as parents and supporters.
However, the Under-15 Development team had a disappointing Molly Dorne, winning only one of five games to finish seventh.
An injury during the week at training robbed the team of the versatility of Trudy Mulligan, and fatigue also set set in across the five games on Sunday.
However, Under-15 Development were able to win their last match of the tournament, and representative season, against a team who had beaten them in two previous tournaments.
There were consistent performances from co-captains Francie Walford and Emily Payne as well as some beautiful play from Ina Whanarere.
Meanwhile, the Wanganui Under-17 and Under-15 teams experienced mixed results in Hastings as they attended the first tournaments put on in the Hawkes Bay.
The Under-15s finished runners-up in their round robin tournament, as they defeated Hawke's Bay Development 22-10, Wairarapa 28-6, Taupo 26-14 and Hawke's Bay 17-10.
Their only loss was against the strong Manawatu team 23-17, although the game was a vast improvement on the 33-14 loss to the same side at the Steffensen Cup the previous weekend.
Changes made in the third quarter saw the team play some of their best netball of the season, pulling back a five-goal deficit at halftime to just one goal.
However an injury in the final quarter put paid to their chances.
Consistent and standout performers across the day were GD/GK Lisa Lin (named in the tournament team), captain GA Niamh Flower and centre De-ann Tyrell.
Speed, accuracy and confidence in moving the ball through court from defensive turnovers in the shooting circle was impressive and has the team in good stead for the upcoming three-day North Island Under-15 tournament.
The Under-17 team went into their tournament with some niggling injuries, as coach Lisa Murphy found it hard to get their momentum going throughout the court.
Their first match with Taranaki was a close game but they could not hold on in the last quarter, Wanganui losing 36-31.
The second game with Hawke's Bay saw the home team play some great netball, with shooter Kelsey McPhee not missing many goals.
Wanganui struggled with the flow of the ball down court and were outplayed, beaten 46-28.
The last game was against Wairarapa, who Wanganui had beaten comfortably in their previous three encounters.
Tiredness and troubled injuries saw Wanganui not start performing until halfway through the game, when they finally found some nice timing and strong driving through the midcourt to win the game 47-34.
Ruhia Tamati was named in the tournament team.
Murphy has two weeks to get her team ready for the nationals in North Harbour.
"The girls need to manage their workloads more effectively and take care of themselves," she said. "We cannot be going to nationals with injuries and fatigued players.
"There is a lot of netball at this time of the year for these players, so rest and recovery is a major part of their training to perform well."