LEITCHVILLE-GUNBOWER’S A grade netball is in the box seat for finals after a hard-earned 49-42 win against North Bendigo on Saturday.
The Bombers moved a game clear of LBU in the race for fifth position on the Heathcote and District Netball League and has a more favourable round 17 match-up before the sides collide in the final round of the season.
North Bendigo entered the contest out of finals contention, with just a 3-10 record for the season.
And the 7-6 Bombers delivered a necessary win, but not without a struggle along the way.
The Bulldogs held small leads right up until the halfway point of the final quarter, where the Bombers clicked into gear and ran away with the seven-goal win.
Assistant coach Ash Crawford said the side hadn’t played its best netball, but found a way late to claim the important win.
‘‘We didn’t have Jodie (Lake), so our defenders were two teenagers (Macey and Tahli Brereton) and we needed Jodie to direct things,’’ she said.
‘‘They did a really good job considering. In the fourth quarter, Courtney West and our defenders picked up lots of loose balls for turnovers and we started to score from every centre pass.’’
Crawford said the side had to fight through a below-average first half to get the win.
‘‘The first half we were flat, flat on our feet and not attacking the ball like we normally would,’’ she said.
‘‘We were leading and then stopping before the ball had got there, which let North Bendigo get lots of intercepts. It felt like we weren’t quite giving 100 per cent, but that could have been the North Bendigo pressure.
‘‘We stayed positive, we knew we should have been up by something like 10 goals, but we kept playing and heads didn’t drop.’’
North Bendigo’s sharp shooting throughout kept it in the lead, nearly taking full advantage of an LG side missing key players.
West was a standout for the Bombers, her brilliant awareness and energy creating intercepts helping the side take the lead late in the game.
Macey Brereton was just as important, backing up a full game in under 17s with a fantastic final three quarters of A grade.
Crawford said the win lifted the side’s confidence on the road toward finals.
‘‘The girls are really keen for finals and they were really excited when we won because we knew we had to,’’ she said.
LG will face second-ranked White Hills on Saturday, needing to improve on the round eight performance against the Demons where it lost by 20 goals at home.
But with a large percentage advantage on LBU, a loss in either of the last two games for the Cats would likely seal the Bombers a finals position.