Maheno Green is hoping the old adage “third time lucky” rings true tomorrow.
The country side earned its spot in this weekend’s North Otago premier club netball final by beating Valley Koru 43-32 in the semifinals on Saturday.
After being bridesmaid the past two seasons, it would mean a lot to take the title this year, captain Sonya Macdonald said.
But her side knows it will have to bring its “A game plus more” against Valley Karaka to win. Karaka held on for a 33-29 victory over fourth-placed St Kevin’s Senior A to earn its place in the final.
“Both teams are really lucky in the fact that they’ve got a really good mix of youth and experience,” Macdonald said.
“Which means it’s gearing up to be a good game.”
Macdonald said her side’s hard work throughout the shortened 10-week season had paid off.
“I think with every game counting, to get you there to the finals, it has made you turn up every Saturday and know that this game really counts,” she said.
Maheno and Karaka have played only once this season, Karaka winning 33-23.
Karaka captain Nicky Wallace said her side had got stronger as the season progressed.
It had lost only one game, to clubmate Valley Koru.
A core group of players has helped Karaka (formerly Valley Gold) set the standard in local netball for a long time. But new players Fiona Dunnett and Lisa Fenwick had fitted in well this year, Wallace said.
“We’ve just carried on like the Valley of old.”
Both captains agreed it had been a challenging season, but they were pleased to make it to the final and were expecting a big crowd now Alert Level 2 had been lifted.
“It’s nice that our spectators and families can actually be a part of the last day and celebrate our crazy season,” Macdonald said.
Macdonald, who is also the North Otago Netball president, said excitement was building for finals day.
“There will be some big finals – and really looking forward to seeing that men’s final,” she said.
The North Otago men’s team, after playing alongside the premier women’s grade this season, will play against an Otago men’s team in Oamaru tomorrow.
“That’s really exciting – it’s a whole different aspect of netball that’s been brought to our association this year,” she said.
“It’s a whole different game that they bring, and has helped [the women] improve their game this year.”
There had been “massive” interest from male players and North Otago Netball was hoping to build on the men’s competition next season.
“Whether it’s the same format as this year, or whether we can actually gather a few more in to make a men’s competition – we’ll be working on that over the summer season to push forward with it,” she said.