Valley Gold moves to 5-0 record

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Valley Gold continues to set the standard in North Otago premier netball as the end of the first round comes in sight.

The defending champion posted two more wins at the weekend – there were games both days, to make up for the abandoned round at the end of April – to move to a perfect 5-0 record.

St Kevin’s College is also unbeaten, having posted four wins and a draw, while Waitaki Girls’ High School Lightning Strike sits third with three wins, a draw and two losses.

On Saturday, Valley Gold started slowly before pulling away to a 45-23 win over Lightning Strike.

Valley led just 11-7 after the first quarter but had jumped to 26-10 at halftime and 35-17 after three quarters.

Midcourt veteran Petra Aspros led the charge with precision feeding and flair, while Nicky Wallace, Shay Frost and Sarah Newlands put up a defensive wall that was hard to crack.

Lightning Strike youngster Maikale Fifita snaffled some lovely intercepts and never gave up.

St Kevin’s turned up the heat in the final quarter to beat Waitaki Girls’ Wildfire 40-36.

The lead changed several times, and after being up 20-17 at halftime, St Kevin’s trailed 29-27 going into the final quarter.

Laura Preston, moving into centre in the final quarter, opened up the circle for St Kevin’s, and Hannah Cunningham played outstanding defence against star Wildfire shooter Taneisha Fifita.

Nicole Lowen and Holly Beazer came up with some nice turnovers but Wildfire was unable to capitalise on its good work.

The third Saturday game was always going to be significant as winless sides Athletic and Valley Silver clashed.

Athletic dominated when it mattered to win 33-20.

On Sunday, the feature game was between St Kevin’s and Lightning Strike, and it did not disappoint.

The Waitaki Girls’ team grabbed narrow leads through the first two quarters, St Kevin’s took control at 23-18 after three, and Lightning Strike roared home to seal the first premier draw of the season, 28-28.

Jasmine Hunter led Lightning Strike with another all-action performance in the midcourt, finding her shooters with consistent precision and swooping on key intercepts that nearly drove her side to victory.

Maheno, which had the bye on Saturday, posted its second straight win, beating Valley Silver 41-15, while Valley Gold again turned up the defensive heat to beat Athletic 44-17.

There is no netball at Queen’s Birthday Weekend.

The final games in the first round are on June 9, and the seven premier teams will be joined by the leading team in the 1.2 grade, probably unbeaten Kurow, for the start of the second round on June 16.