Wednesday, 29th June, 2011
The 2011 netball competition will end in a fitting finale tonight when the city’s best teams renew their rivalry in the A-Grade grand final.
West Chix and the Outback Pharmacy team have been locked in an enthralling battle for dominance all season after finishing first and second on the ladder respectively at the completion of the minor rounds.
Although West Chix finished the regular season as minor premiers, they have struggled to overcome a resurgent Outback Pharmacy team in their recent encounters.
West Chix won the teams’ first clash by a comfortable 13 points in Round 1, before Outback Pharmacies hit back to score a thrilling one-point victory in Round 6.
The teams next met in the Semi Final and it was again Outback Pharmacies who prevailed, recording an 11 point win and forcing West Chix to fight their way into the grand final with a win over Pink Fever in last week’s Elimination Final.
Outback Pharmacies’ joint Captain Cassie Wells said her team, which is comprised mainly of school teachers, was approaching full strength due to players having less work commitments of late.
“It will be the first game all season that we’ve had a full team,” she said.
“It was a pretty close game last time, I think we pulled away a bit in the third then managed to hold that lead throughout. It should be a good game again this time.”
Outback Pharmacies’ defence will be led by Lauren Higgs and Sophie Scroop, while the return of Marcia Millsteed from an ankle injury should provide extra class in the centre.
Up forward Ms Wells and Lindsay Kubiak will be crucial to their team’s success, and both girls will be looking to maintain their good form and shooting percentage.
Meanwhile West Chix will look to its mid-court players to drive them to victory, and will have Stacey Ferguson, Kelli Keenan and talented all-round sportswoman Steph Balman leading the charge.
Kelli Schultz and newcomer Sarah Newsome will aim to control the defence and limit the Outback Pharmacies forwards, while Georgia McDonald and Danielle Turner will be looking to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
The game’s opening quarter may have a particularly significant bearing on the outcome, with both teams’ starting Centres likely to be unavailable in the first quarter.
A scheduling clash with the KO Cup soccer grand final looks set keep Outback Pharmacies’ Sarah Magill and West Chix’s Steph Balman out of the contest early, and the team that adjusts quicker may enjoy an initial advantage.
Netball fans are encouraged to come along to E.P O’Neill Memorial Park and enjoy a game that is sure to be played with great speed, skill and intensity.
Finals will begin at 6pm with the Under 13 grade, and will continue throughout the night with the A-Grade final scheduled for 8.30pm.