college logoDefending champions Celtic A returned to their best with a 30-24 win over United A in Thursday night’s latest round of the Mid Canterbury Netball premier one competition.

And they weren’t alone when it came to producing some of their most clinical netball of the season, with the table-topping College A side also coming away with an impressive win over Hampstead A 41-23.

They were results that ensured that with just one game to go before semi-finals, College A and Celtic A were shaping up to be the two teams to beat, with College A topping the leaderboard and Celtic A in second spot.

College A are yet to drop a game in the competition’s third and final championship round, and their latest win was set up by an outstanding first half where they led Hampstead A 22-9 by half-time.

College A coach Kaye Kennedy said the first half was great, but there was still work to do.

“We are working on just getting our structure and our composure right through all four quarters, we just seem to have one quarter where we drop off a bit,” Kennedy said.

On Thursday night, that was the last quarter, but by then College A had already done more than enough to secure the win.

It was a strong performance by the young side, but the game of the night belonged to Celtic A and United A.

As expected, little separated the two sides early on, but early in the second quarter Celtic A got on a mini-roll which helped them to a 22-16 led at half-time – a six-goal margin they still held at the end of the 40 minutes.

United A moved Olivia McLennan to the bench, and moved Anna Edzes from goal keep to goal shoot in the third quarter, but Celtic A’s defensive duo of Anna Holland and Olivia Hutchinson continued to make life difficult for United’s attack end.

Life wasn’t easy for Celtic A’s shooters either, though, with Sophie Worsfold producing numerous turnovers, but unfortunately for her side, all too often the ball found its way back into the hands of Celtic players before they could capitalise.

The gap was still six at three-quarter time, 22-16, and United A again made a move, reintroducing McLennan in the final quarter – at goal keep instead of goal shoot.

While United did manage to make some late inroads, they also made errors at crucial times, and Celtic made them pay.

Celtic A were having the sort of night where it would have been tough picking a player of the day, and against a side like that you couldn’t afford to make mistakes.

Celtic A coach Angela Leadley summed her side’s performance up in one word – awesome.

“Defensively we stepped up and that made a huge difference, which gave us confidence in our attacking game and we just seemed to find each other,” Leadley said.

Thursday night’s round also featured a bottom-of-the-table clash between Methven A and Mt Somers which was won by Methven A 21-14, which put them into fifth position with a round to go.

In premier two, Southern A’s top form continued with a 31-16 win over College B, while Methven B beat Hampstead B 33-22, and an all-Celtic battle was won by Celtic B over Celtic C, 41-30.

By Erin Tasker © The Ashburton Guardian - 2 August 2019