Hanan heads north

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Looking for options . . . North Otago wing attack Petra Aspros tries to get the ball up court.
North Otago’s top netballers battled hard but could not stop the Hanan Shield going to Ashburton at the weekend.
Mid Canterbury won the one-off clash 40-36 at the Waitaki Community Recreation Centre on Sunday.
The traditional three-team tournament was reduced to two following South Canterbury’s decision to withdraw just a week before the event, so the two remaining teams played one game over four full 15-minute quarters.
Scores were tied 8-8 after the first quarter but Mid Canterbury eased to an 18-15 lead at halftime and a 29-25 lead after three quarters, and it did enough to hold on in the final quarter.
“We started off with a hiss and a roar. We got up 5-0,” North Otago coach Abbey McKenzie said.
“It was a game that no-one ever dominated. It was a very defensive game with a lot of turnover ball, and it basically came down to them having more accurate shooters.
“It was played in really good spirits. All the girls felt it was a good, competitive but friendly game.”
Suzy Oakes (GS) and Kate Macgregor (C) impressed on debut for North Otago, while Petra Aspros and Rihi Schultz showed their class at the attacking end.
Just like that, North Otago’s senior representative campaign is over, and McKenzie is keen to see her top players get more time on the court together in future seasons.
“It’s pretty disappointing, really. We talked to Mid Canterbury, because they were in the same boat as us, and both teams are wondering what more we can do.
“A lot of smaller centres are battling to find tournaments. And our issue is our club season goes so long, and we can’t go to some of the rep tournaments which are now played on Saturdays.
“We definitely need to look at going further afield for something because our girls are definitely keen.
“Netball South are trying to do something that suits all the regions but it’s hard because our seasons are all different,” she said.
St Kevin’s Platinum made a stirring comeback to beat Waitaki Girls’ Wildfire 35-30 as premier club netball resumed on Saturday. Wildfire led 8-7 after the first quarter and appeared in control at 18-13 at halftime, but the St Kevin’s team stormed in front by winning the third quarter 12-4. Centre Ashley Pink and
circle defenders Laura Dowling and Riley Bell lifted the tempo nicely for Platinum in the second half. Excelsior beat Valley Silver 25-23 after leading 8-3 after the first quarter, 16-11 at halftime and 21-17 after three quarters. Leading sides Valley Gold (38-15 over SKC Steel) and WGHS Lightning Strike (52-34 over
Athletic) each had solid wins.