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Down the court . . . Valley Gold's Nicky Wallace (GD) was a standout against Waitaki Girls' Lightning Strike. PHOTO: REBECCA RYAN

Valley Gold pulled off an impressive comeback to beat Waitaki Girls’ Lightning Strike 38-34 in the fourth round of the North Otago premier club netball competition.

Both sides wanted to preserve their unbeaten runs as they clashed for the first time on Saturday.

Lightning Strike came out firing with some exceptional phases of play and took an eight-goal lead (13-5) into quarter time. Losa Fifita was on fire at goal shoot, helped by some classy plays from Milly Matthews (GA) to open up the goal circle.

The experience of Valley Gold came to the fore in the second quarter, the defending champions seizing the momentum and closing the gap to two goals, 17-19, at the halftime break.

Valley’s Brytnee Firman produced a great performance at GS, and solid pressure from the defensive duo of Nicky Wallace (GD) and Shay Frost (GK) disrupted the flow to the Waitaki Girls’ shooting end, turning over a huge quantity of ball and led to a final score of 38-34.

Athletic almost pulled off an upset against unbeaten Waitaki Girls’ Wildfire, picking up a bonus point and falling just three goals short of victory. With sickness and unavailability, the depth of both sides was tested and moments of brilliance were followed by unforced errors.

Waitaki Girls’ held the lead 17-14 at halftime, but Athletic increased the intensity and levelled the score 24-24 heading into the final quarter.

A well-drilled Waitaki Girls’ mid-court, led by centre Kira Mortimer, and effective defence by Lily Rawson (WD), helped Wildfire to take the nailbiter 34-32.

For Athletic, Robyn Williams was strong on defence, turning over the ball many times and putting the pressure on throughout the court.

Maheno squeezed a low-scoring win over Kurow, 28-18.

Trailing 4-7 at quarter time, Kurow closed the gap to one at halftime (10-11), helped by the circle defence of Steph Voice (GK) and Jane Mulholland (GD).

Maheno’s defence of Rachel Armstrong (GK), Mel Smith (GD) and Georgia Oakes (WD) was dominant throughout the game and helped the team pull ahead to 23-14 at three-quarter time. The return of Ngapera Yaxley (GA) was also a bonus for Maheno’s shooting combinations.

Kurow’s circle defence of Steph Voise (GK) and Jane Mulholland (GD) combined well and the centre match-up of Maheno’s Kat Kawau and Kurow’s Rebecca Stark was competitive.

St Kevin’s A also proved its worth on Saturday, convincingly beating Valley Silver 44-18.

It held a solid lead at the first-quarter break (14-3) with Hannah Cunningham (GD) and Jasmine Emery (GK) working tirelessly in the circle, assisted by Serena O’Brien (WD) to force turnovers and pick up loose ball.

It was a tough game for Valley Silver against a very slick school team, but it still managed some great passages of play. Standouts were Grace Firman at wing defence and goal keep Amber Direen.