|Posted by Near the Hoop on August 17, 2019 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
Tense moments in a number of divisions as the final jockeying for a place at the big one next week and the following week reached it zenith. All the games went pretty much to the wire as contenders manoeuvred to make their claim for a seat at the grand final proceedings.
From the U10’s all the way to the U21’s there was push and shove, some real catching up and certainly a statement that today was not going to be pushover day.
The teams already berthed and in waiting at the final clash were all there, curious to know who they would be playing in the main event. The U21A’s was an interesting saga as PC Lightning appeared to have the game well at hand leading by well over 10 nets by three quarter time. But true to the Sparrows fighting spirit the young ladies dug deep and in the third and final quarters hauled the score back to within three nets and pushing the Lightning defensive line to breaking point, until time ran out.
Final contenders for U21A’s are PC Lightning against Veupunama next week
A similar story for Paramana and Poinimo inU21B but with Poinimo taking the game a little moe comfortably in the end.
It was pretty much the same account for each of today’s games with losses basically by the hair of their teeth, as team after team express’s either despair at such a close loss or a sigh of real relive at the close finish of their games.
There is one little fascinating tale of the Gulf teams who will be playing each other in their divisional Grand Final in two weeks, but that in itself if another story altogether.
The main one on centre court indoors today was the clash between CC Sparrows and Snax Mermaids for the right to take on Telstars at the major event and if the scores are any indication to go by it was a cracker of a game with both teams absolutely on top of each other, literally neck to neck for the entire game. The strength of Kilala “Lala” Owens and Courtney Abel in defence cannot be understated and will be perhaps one of the things Telstars will need to consider in two weeks time.
With Meme Leka still on her game, shooting some pretty impressive averages as of late and against some very respectable defensive lineups, speaks volumes of this young lady’s potential and today she held her own again.
The Maids played a very intense game today and the scores of 12/13, 15/22, 33/33 and 44/46 just confirm that it was an excellent game to watch. Nail biting and riveting, right to the end.
They had every opportunity to win today’s game but for whatever reason there appeared some jitters at their shooting. Let’s not simply dismiss the Sparrows defence for had it not been for the agro and smart, almost patient monstering of Japhet, Rayleen and Alex in the circle, perhaps it would have been a very different game.
At one juncture, just 7 minutes out, I took a look at the scoreboard and it was 38 a piece, it was a pretty sure bet this one was going to the wire. But then Japhet missed a sitter right at the base of the net which would have put the Maids up by one and the Sparrows recovered with a base line throw-in. That to me was where the crack appeared as the Sparrows capitalised on that advantage and then kept their center pass which put them two points ahead. The Maids just couldn’t haul in the sore and the catching up always meant the Sparrows, if they kept their cool, would have a two goal or at the least, a one goal buffer.
Final score in an outstanding game of netball CC Sparrows 46 defeating the Snax Mermaids 44. Sparrows of course now have to strategise to take on minor premiers and Grand Finalists Telstars, in the POMNA Premier Division Grand Final in a fortnight. That is going to be an interesting game indeed.
The POMNA Grand Final format departs a little from previous competitions this year in that, the Junior Finals will be held next week from U10 to U21’s and the following week POMNA hosts its Senior competition Grand Finals.
No doubt we’ll be seeing you all there…..
|Posted by Near the Hoop on August 11, 2019 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
The finals are on us now on us for POMNA but there is a curious atmosphere at the Rita Flynn courts both indoor and outdoor that is difficult to explain. A mood or spark which is no longer there, that made this time of the POMNA season at the old courts such an attraction. I’m not sure what it is nor can anyone describe it, but it was the source of cheer for many associated with the sport until the changes to accommodate the Pacific Games in 2014.
It is the absence of that particular something that has made the competition somewhat separated or distant or dislocated from it’s constituents, its members, especially at this time of the season. But it is the business end of the netball season for 2019 and some serious netballing was on display across the six outdoor courts and two premier division quarter finals today.
In all Divisions, 1st placed teams played off with 2nd place for the right to first berth at the Grand Final and 3rd placed teams played 4th placed teams in an elimination round. The winner of 3 v 4 then plays the looser of 1 v 2 next week for the right to play in the Grand Final in two weeks time.
There is a slight departure from the above in that the junior competition, U10 to U21 will conduct its grand finals in two weeks and the Senior competition Div 9 to Premier will hold their Grand Finals the following week.
So for U21A for example, Veupunama who have had a phenomenal season not dropping a single game for the entire year managed to keep that record intact beating a very spirited PCP lightning on court 4, holding on to the slimmest margin at the end to book a seat courtside in two weeks time. PCP Lightning will now have to play the Sparrows U21 side who beat Raukele by just two.
Two of perhaps the best premier division games all season were played today as Telstars edged the Sparrows in an incredibly even contest taking the game with any real certainty in the dying stages of the contest and still at a million miles an hour. Both teams kept the hammer to the floor for the entire four quarters. Though the ladies in red led at the whistle for the four quarters, they were never really out of the woods especially with the Sparrows young U21 shooter Meme Leka hot to trot today, potting from all over the half circle and mind you this is against pretty intimidating defenders like Julie Anne Diro, Ravu Vao and Raka Nope. But the blistering Telstar attack, efficient, enterprising and lethal every time it explored the Sparrows defence was what held the key to today’s epic hit out and if they keep this level of consistency, the premiership certainly is attainable. Telstars confident in their 49 – 45 win today
Since Vitu Diro has returned as head coach, the Ladies in red seem to have a better focus on the prize and have become win hungry again. Mrs Diro has moulded a much younger side assembled over the last two or three years under the stewardship of Toka Aua to now be more than a credible claimant for the POMNA premiership in 2019, which incidentally for Veitu, it will be number 40 for the club since its inception in the 60’s.
In their way will either be the Sparrows who now have to regroup and focus on their clash with the Mermaids next week, or the Mermaids who today dispatched a strong effort by the CPL Rebels by 61 – 44.
The score does not really do justice to the game between the Maids and the Rebels as the Rebels were competitive throughout the contest and certainly not throwing in the towel at any stage of the game. They were let down a little by not capitalising on rebounds at both ends of the court and unfortunately turnovers in play became costly in the end especially where the Maids mercilessly drove the wedge home with greater proficiency near the hoop.
Standouts again for the Maids were Rayleen Andrew and Japeth Tulapi with Rayleens accuracy close to 80%. Japeth was only able to hole 11 from 22 today but the number of attempts alone suggest they had a higher share of possession. The Maids are also rebuilding with a very young profile on roster this year and it was good to see young Alex Ligo subbing in in the third and fourth quarters and hitting a respectable 11 from 15 attempts.
As expected both Premier Division games were played at a whirlwind pace with the volley traffic often going back and forth as possession changed hands, keeping spectators well entertained with the athleticism of the players.
After today’s games Telstars have earned first passage to sit on the right hand bench at the Grand Final. The Sparrows now have to playoff against the Mermaids for the right to play Telstars in three weeks. The Rebels unfortunately have to now regroup and look at reconvening next year for the 2020 POMNA competition .
The pattern is similar for all divisions of the competition that held games today.
Congratulations to all the teams that won today and now strategise for their Grand Final appearances while we bid farewell to the loosing minor semi finalists and wish those playing next week, ….. all the best.
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 27, 2019 at 9:50 PM||comments (0)|
A quick look at the Maria Tutaia story, now Mrs Maria Folau.
Certainly a competitor. Simple but extrvagant, humble but oozing confidence.
A household name in New Zealand and indeed for the global netball fraternity as one of the Silver Fern's most lethal strike weapons she is quite a spectacle to watch on court and a shining example for those wanting to be inside the circle.
Enjoy the video link
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 27, 2019 at 10:15 AM||comments (0)|
POMNA's main comp today was a bit of a hot affair with the mercury in the thermometers high enough to turn the outside courts into a frying pan.
But as the saying goes "wok i mas go yet" so we grind on as the finals fast approach.
One interesting game on the outdoor courts today was the Division 2 game between Telstars and . It may have been providence for Emily Maha as not only did the ladies in red win by just one goal, one of her passes, a blind "alley oop" over the top of her head, actually made it to the goal shooter in the circle who then netted the goal. Some of the crazy things that can happen in netball that you just have to be there to see.
The premier division games all went as scheduled and as you'd expect there was always going to be some drama or things don't quite work out the way it was planned.
First cab off the rank, Telstars and Veupunama went as much to script as to the outcome, but the ladies in red certainly had to work up a sweat on this occasion. It was the tenacity and dexterity of senior defenders like Juliie- Anne Diro and Raka Nope who's experience stood out today showing that their days on the court are still assured. Their speedy midcourt were matched by Veupu's strong midcourt defensive line but the Testars structure in attack certainly appeared superior as the quarters progressed and certainly the endurance and fitness aspect started to show in the Veupu game. Veupu are starting to look threatening no doubting that and the established five, Telstars, Mermaids, Sparrows, Rebels and Paramana must start to acknowledge both Veupunama and Aroma Coast given the right circumstances, do have the potential to rock the boat and today's decent scoreline is testament to that.
Telstars however were too good today and despite the efforts of the Gulo Vui twins in the circle, we jest, as the family pair of mother and daughter Tania and Talima did really well up front. It was the four big guns up front for the Telstars that made the difference. High accuracy percentage and a strong feeding line from the spritely Miss Kila and Alex that in attack made it a difficult day at the office for the Veupu girls.
Final Score Telstars 54 - Veupunama 36
In the two other games today Snax Mermaids appeared to be trying out combinations in the absence of coach Salote Doko as stewards Susan Kalo Aisi and senior players tested out player combinations against Aroma Coast.
The scores reflected this and a certainly tenacious Aroma Coast team beaming with raw talent and only missing the experience of a star studded Mermaids outfit and certainly the high performance training element. Aroma Coast now under the coaching of veteran Anne Iamo have started to look the part, able to stay the course for a lot longer, and be less spontaneous.
Todays effort required a watchful bench to ensure senior players were on court at the appropriate time to avoid a loss.
Final scores Snax Mermaids 44 - Aroma Coast 39
And in the last Premier Division game, A dash for the line, strong defence, a bit of luck with a tired Rebels side and accuracy at the hoop when it mattered, saw the game snatched by one goal from the CPL Rebels at the last minute by CC Sparrows, after they had led the game for the entire 4 quarters. At three quarter time the score had the Rebels up by 3, 35 - 32 and the acid was now on the Sparrows to get their combinations working.
The Rebels only had seven on the bench to start the game and so like Paramana the week before, they were all going to play for the full hour, unless Emily Taule and Oti Sarufa were daring enough to don a dress and take the court if God forbid, an injury occurred. But the seven were tenacious and unrelenting and very, very competitive so much so that the full bench of the Sparrows were not able to overhaul these screaming blue buttons as they set about making their mark.
The mistake the Rebels made in the final quarter was to attempt to attack the Sparrows circle by lobbing over Kilala Owen, to their shooters. Kilala's famed elevation capabilities meant this was always going to be easy pickings if you telegraphed the pass. It was an error in judgement that cost them possession four times in the final quarter and playing at this level, that kind of possession when they yield points on the return can be difficult to contain. With the momentum swung and frantic scramble for possession, it was anyone's guess who was leading and the importance of possession was suddenly critical to either side winning.
Then disaster when a moment of confusion by the Rebels attack, which if converted would have meant a draw at the worst, resulted in a turnover to the Sparrows who then pressed home the attack and winning by just one.
The state of desperation was clearly on both benches as Sparrows coach, Julienne Maliaki, exclaimed, "I didn't know who had won, but I'm glad we pulled that one off"
Final Score A close true encounter,
CC Sparrows 44 - CPL Rebels 43
Paramana were on bye today
With the finals fast approaching the games will no doubt be more competitive. An opportunity to watch some spectacular netball.
Premier Division games start at about 11 am and the final game is at about 4pm.
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 27, 2019 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
Looking back at the highlights reels for the World Cup this year have been quite amazing but among them was this pearler.
England was one of the teams we had hoped would make it to the big one but lost at the very last hurdle to the formidable Silver Ferns in the major semi final. They had class, talent, poise a lot of netball and a bit of the sassy as well.
Click on the link below and enjoy the 4 minute highlights reel.
This is too good to miss. New Zealand v England Liverpool Vitality World Cup, 2019.
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 25, 2019 at 10:40 AM||comments (0)|
Interesting perspectives for sport as the All Blacks and SilverFerns share high performance experiences.
Click on the link for this interesting video.
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 25, 2019 at 10:35 AM||comments (0)|
So here's a peek at some of the focuses for New Zealand this year. If you think our coaches are lunatic about fitness, take a look at this video.
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 25, 2019 at 10:20 AM||comments (0)|
Video Highlights of the World Cup from RNZ
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 22, 2019 at 7:10 AM||comments (0)|
What a story
New Zealand win their first World Cup title since 2003.
In dramatic fashion, as has been many an epic battle at this level, the Silver Ferns held on to stave off a fast finishing Australian side to win the Netball World Cup Final, 52-51, overnight.
The comentators, almost horse from the frantic calls, amplified New Zealands awesome achievement after sixteen years of hammering at the door, to finally hoist the Cup and say "it's ours", was memorable. Marie Folau was outstanding at the net as was the entire NZ contingent. having to psychologically prepare for a final after going down to the Diamonds in the semi's must have been a battle in itself. But they simply went on with it for the big one, flustering the Aussies at the brekdowns and making sure they had to work for every point is indicative of the close scoreline.
In what has been billed an absolutely exhilarating and exhausting final even for the spectators, the Diamonds just couldn't close out the Ferns, surrendering the worlds top spot in the sport for the first time in almost two decades.
NZ will finally be etched onto the silverwear before the ladies take it back home to go in the trophy cabinette.
Scenes of utter joy at one end and total dismay at the other as the Silver Ferns, finally put paid to a sixteen year drought and finally get to take home the silverware.
Well done New Zealand Silver Ferns.
Link below is RNZ's video review
|Posted by Near the Hoop on July 19, 2019 at 8:50 PM||comments (0)|
The Pepe's made an emphatic statement that they were not to be denied a place on the podium as they accounted for a virtual U21 Samoan side representing their nation in the place of their #1 team which as in England contesting he World Cup.
PNG acquited themselves well from all accounts with the lead never being challenged and finishing off 64 - 35 to ensure we at least share in the medal haul the country has managed at these games.
Our ladies never lacked in both skill or stamina but perhaps the ability to finish off and an unofrtunate lapse in accuracy which for the Cook Islands and Tonga mean they were always has an oportunity to capitlise on possesion. Lose your centre pass and you have to fight for the next two to make up. It all started to gel in the final game but two games short as the losses to Tonga and the Cookies meant we miss out on challenging for the Gold or Silver.
They were all wonderful sportspeople and were great ambassadors for our game.
Our Pepe's return home over the weekend.
Well done Pepe's