A Grade - First Semi Final
Yarrawonga 54 def Lavington 35
In yet another spectacular display of athleticism and a full-team performance, the A graders have again defied the threat of elimination by knocking off a depleted Lavington at North Albury on Sunday.
From the outset it was clear that the Yarra girls were taking no prisoners in this match, exerting dominance from mid-way through the first quarter with numerous intercepts and turnovers being converted into scoring opportunities seeing them up by 8 at the first break and 17 at half time.
Young guns Indi Fraunfelder and Elle Brooks were exceptional in the shooting circle for the entire match against some of the best defenders in the league, who despite multiple positional changes, had no answers to stem the flow of goals.
Caitlin O’Dwyer received continual body-on-body pressure from the opposition but was able to combine well with other mid-courters in Laura Irvine and Tilly Kennedy to ensure that there were few issues getting the ball into the attacking end.
The defensive end led by Bec Carlyle, combined with the experience and footwork of Annalise Grinter (who played her 250th game) and the youth and speed of Lily Sharp once again stepped up the pressure this week.
Despite a slight lapse in the third quarter, the Pigeons took no prisoners in the final term when the entire team worked together to wow the crowd with seamless flows from defense to attack, hands over everything and simply unmatchable strength to book their spot in the preliminary final next week.
All the very best to a fantastic team.
Best: Indiana Fraunfelder and Elle Brooks.
B Grade - Second Semi Final
Yarrawonga 46 def North Albury 41
After a week off to refresh themselves, the B-grade minor premiers returned to the court on Saturday at Birrallee Park against a surging North Albury outfit who were fresh from their first-round finals win.
In some of the most testing netball conditions of the season, it’s safe to say that the Pigeons girls got off to a slower start than they may have liked, with the Hoppers working well to convert all scoring opportunities and some uncharacteristic errors from the Yarra girls seeing them unable to find their usual rhythm for longer than a few minutes in each of the first three quarters.
Finding themselves four goals down at the final break and as the wind and rain continued to pick up and surge sideways across the court, best on court Kaitlyn Cummins decided enough was enough and it was time for some magic.
Some spectacular characteristic intercepts by Kaitlyn and fellow defenders Ellie Dickins and Paris Bonat got the crowd going, which imbued confidence into shooters Bridget Cassar and Abbey Jones who were able to convert goal after goal and take a substantial lead with minutes left to play.
The entire team were then able to showcase why they were the ladder leaders this season and finished the game extremely strongly, booking their spot in the grand final, where they rightly deserve to be.
They will now enjoy another week off before coming out firing for the big dance in a fortnight’s time.
Best: Kaitlyn Cummins and Paris Bonat.
C Grade – Second Semi Final
Yarrawonga 48 def Lavington 32
Coming off a good win in the first week of finals, the C graders came up against minor premiers Lavington in windy and wet conditions at Wodonga on Saturday morning.
The Panthers have been the dominant force in the C grade this year, so the Yarra girls knew they’d need to come out firing from the first whistle and come out firing they certainly did.
The Pigeons won each of the four quarters in this match, with seamless passages of play from defence into attack, a fast-moving ball and the strength of hands of best on court Eliza York, who again was unbeatable with high accuracy and volume of goals.
Defenders Georgia Lawless and Tayla Bogle were strong working together and impossible to beat for the Panthers goalers, who made multiple changes throughout the match and the mid-court of Zoe Jones, Caitlin Dwyer, Bree Bailey (who played her 200th game) and Leah Rowe kept their cool despite the challenges the weather was throwing at them and provided fantastic drive for the entire match.
In the end it was a convincing 16-goal win to the Pigeons, who will now bypass the preliminary final which has been their nemesis in the previous few seasons and head straight for a grand final berth.
This team is certainly looking the goods for the big dance and wish them all the best.
Best: Eliza York and Georgia Lawless.