Unbeaten Opals hang on in Grafton Netball clash
TUCABIA Opals scraped past Redmen Aussie Steakhouse by just one goal but it was enough to extend their unbeaten run in the 2014 Grafton A-grade Netball competition.
Opals led by four at three-quarter time but the second-placed Steakhouse launched a spirited fightback in the final term to close the gap.
When the hooter sounded the result was still in the balance with two minutes injury time added for the second-quarter delay when Jamie Wood was taken from the court with an ankle injury.
When it hooter sounded for a second time, Opals had prevailed 36-35.
Opals shooter Amy Colling said she was happy to have snatched the win.
"It was a back-and-forth game for sure," she said.
"Their defender Sam Donovan was back from having a baby; she's a superstar. She shut down our attacking end today.
"I think our downcourt pressure right from the attacking end to the defensive line, causing turnovers and bad passes, is what gets us over the line every week, and it did again today."
Steakhouse came out of the blocks firing to lead 11-8 at the first break but Opals fought back to level the scores at 17-all at half-time.
Steakhouse, who were without mid-court trio Kelle Murphy, Kirby Danvers and Kelly Saye for the match were disappointed with the result but remain positive.
"It was a tight game," wing defence Naomi Evers.
"Ash Fennessy and Steph Elliott were on fire for us in the last quarter and every-one pitched together at the end with accurate passing and shooting.
"Considering we were missing key players, we'll be confident when we play them in the finals."
Competition is heating up across the grades with just four rounds remaining before the finals commence on August 23.
Tucabia Southies lead the way in B1 grade, just two points ahead of GHS Jerry Hatricks.
Three GHS teams lead the charge in B2 grade while Rhino Bees Knees are one point ahead of GHS Diamonds for fourth spot.
Thunder currently leads C grade while N/S Strikers are travelling nicely in D grade.
N/S Rainbow Unicorns (Inter), City Stars (11/12), N/S Koolkids (10/11) and N/S Cuties (8/9) lead their respective divisions.
Congratulations to Maddy Howell from N/S Lollipops in the 10/11s who was named this week's Telstra Junior Player of the Week.