Bears down the bombers

By Holly Tregenza

SHEPPARTON produced the biggest statement of the Goulburn Valley League netball season so far, knocking off highly-fancied Kyabram 38-34 in a Deakin Reserve thriller.

Enthralling netball was on tap for the full 60 minutes, with the Bombers leading early before the Bears found another gear late in the contest to grind out their second win of the season.

Kyabram led 19-18 at the half, but Shepparton worked its way to the lead late in the third quarter courtesy of intense defensive pressure.

Leading 29-28 at the start of the fourth, the Bears produced with the game on the line, starting the term on a 7-2 scoring run to virtually put the game to bed, leading 36-30.

Jacinta Todd, pivotal during the contest, provided the perfect link between defence and attack playing wing attack, feeding the Bears’ goalers with precision to help seal the win.

For Kyabram, it left the contest 1-1 for the season still with plenty of promising signs, with Elle Groves, Sharni Clark and Ash Mangan standing out.

Kyabram coach Sara Kent said it was a disappointing result given the Bombers were leading for most of the game.

“We certainly would have liked the win but there are lots of positives that came from the game,’’ Kent said.

‘‘We were in control for a lot of it, and it was really good to see the girls hold their own against what is a really strong force. They really are the benchmark in the league.

“I can’t really pinpoint what went wrong – it might have been the home crowd.

‘‘But really, I couldn’t have asked for more from the players and it’s clear to me that the more games we play together the stronger we get and the better everyone seems to gel,” she said.

It’s only the second game that the Kyabram side has played together since some new faces joined the ranks this season.

The Bombers will look to get back on track this Saturday against Rochester.

“We have plenty to improve on,’’ Kent said.

‘‘We’ll be coming into the Rochester game with the same approach as we did this week , which means sticking to our own game and having confidence in the group.

“Rochy are coming off a big win so I think it’ll be important to respect the opposition we have got and give it our all,” Kent said.