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Coming forward . . . Athletic wing defence Ella Francis gets the ball down-court. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

The eighth week of the North Otago premier netball competition, and first week into a new round, saw some thrilling games.

The final results on Saturday were predictable, but Valley Silver went close to an upset against Waitaki Girls’ Wildfire, and Athletic, which is still searching for its first win of the season, had a tight first-half tussle with Valley Gold.

Meanwhile, Maheno easily saw off St Kevin’s College A, and Waitaki Girls’ Lightning Strike, welcoming back star player Taneisha Fifita, took charge of its game against Kurow A.

Maheno v SKC A

Final score: 34-23 to Maheno

Quarter scores (Maheno first): 9-8, 18-13, 27-16, 34-23

After a tight tussle in the first quarter, Maheno edged out the St Kevin’s schoolgirls to take the game by 11 goals, inspired by its impressive team defence. Kat Kawau (C) and Sonya McDonald (WD) were instrumental in stemming the St Kevin’s flow and creating turnovers.

St Kevin’s put the breaks on Maheno’s surge in the final quarter, drawn 7-7, as Jasmine Emery (GD) and Annie Metcalfe (GK) worked tirelessly to cause some upsets in the shooting circle. Coming on at wing attack in the final quarter, Jaimee Trainor fed the St Kevin’s shooters well, supported by Ellen Swanson, who boosted the strength of the midcourt, and Metcalfe transferred well from shooter to defence.

WGHS Light Str v Kurow A

Final score: 47-24 to WGHS

Quarter scores (WGHS first): 14-5, 27-1, 39-19, 47-24.

Waitaki Girls’ Lightning Strike welcomed back Taneisha Fifita from injury and her presence did not fail to deliver for her team. Lightning Strike took charge of the game from the first whistle, coach Steve Ross commending every player for stepping up and executing the game plan to “perfection”.

Leading 14-5 after the first quarter, the schoolgirls built on their lead in every quarter to finish with a commanding win over Kurow. Ryah MacLeod (GA) and Losa Fifita (GS) delivered an impeccable shooting display for Waitaki Girls’.

Valley Silver v WGHS Wildfire

Final score: 36-32 to WGHS

Quarter scores (WGHS first): 10-5, 18-12, 24-21, 36-32

Two year 9 Waitaki Girls’ pupils got their first taste of premier netball on Saturday, stepping up to support injury-ravaged Wildfire against Valley Silver.

Wildfire jumped to a four-goal lead in the first quarter and maintained it for most of the game.

The second-string Valley side, also missing some key players, put the pressure on the schoolgirls in the final quarter. Wildfire captain Kira Mortimer and midcourter Molly Hurst helped their team settle and control the game, breaking down the Valley Silver defence and inspiring a win by four goals.

On debut for Wildfire, year 9 pupil Renee Stenning delivered an impeccable shooting display and Charlotte Weir showed admirable concentration and strength at GK.

Valley Gold v Athletic

Final score: 43-34 to Valley

Quarter scores (Valley first): 8-9, 21-17, 33-24, 43-34

Undefeated Valley Gold had to dig deep to beat winless Athletic on Saturday.

Missing some key players, Valley Gold took time to settle and find connections with new combinations, trailing 9-8 at quarter time.

Valley’s Mikayla Cleveland (WD) shone on defensive duty and, moving to centre, produced some great circle feeds.

Brytnee Firman was in superb form at goal shoot, taking control of the shooting circle with some great movement.

For Athletic, Jess Kerr was as impressive as always in the shooting circle, finding space up against classy Valley defenders Shay Frost and Sarah Newlands, while young goal attack Monique Lewis landed shots at long range.