Defending champion Valley Gold has sewn up top spot for the North Otago premier club netball playoffs.
Just one round robin game remains before the semifinals on August 11 and the final on August 18.
Valley, gunning for a fifth straight title and a nice double to match the club’s rugby success, has a perfect record (6-0) since the competition split and a commanding six-point lead at the top of the table.
It beat its closest challenger, an experienced and resurgent Maheno team, 34-27 in the feature clash on Saturday.
Maheno stays on 18 points, followed by St Kevin’s College (17), Waitaki Girls’ High School Wildfire (14) and Waitaki Girls’ Lightning Strike (12).
The top-of-the-table game was tied 9-9 after the first quarter, and Valley nudged ahead 16-15 at halftime.
Valley, powered by accurate shooter Rihi Schultz and the wily Petra Aspros at wing attack, then powered to a 26-22 lead at the three-quarter mark and maintained its edge in the final quarter.
St Kevin’s confirmed its spot in the semifinals with a 35-30 win over Lightning Strike.
It was 8-8 after the first quarter and just 17-15 to St Kevin’s at halftime, and while the Waitaki side mixed things up in an attempt to get back in the game, St Kevin’s always had enough to stay clear.
Wing attack Gemma Dowling was steady through court for St Kevin’s with good vision and passing accuracy, while Hannah Cunningham and Connie Metcalfe combined well in the defensive circle and grabbed some crucial intercepts and rebounds.
For Lightning Strike, Taneisha Fifita threatened to turn the game when she switched from goal keep to goal attack, and regular Wildfire player Molly Hurst had an impact when she came on in the final quarter.
Hurst had earlier played both shooting positions to help Wildfire to a 35-26 win over Kurow.
The Waitaki Girls’ side jumped to a 13-5 lead after the first quarter that proved two difficult for the game country side to claw back.
Kurow wing attack Sharna Bowis had a strong game, feeding shooters Jaimee Gillingham and Ashlee Keown well.
Athletic Maroon beat Valley Silver 37-22.