by Daisy Osborne (Carlton College of Sport)
Hawks Netball’s Championship division team bounced back onto the winners list in a big way in Round 6 of the Victorian Netball League, downing Peninsula Waves by 22 goals.
It was a reward for persistence for the Hawks after three tight losses against some of the competition’s heavyweights and was setup by a huge first-half defensive performance in which Waves were held to just 17 goals.
The first quarter set the tone at Oakleigh Recreation Centre, with the Hawks dominating all thirds to open up an eight-goal lead.
Birthday girl Jasmine Ferguson was strong and steady through the centre, while defensive trio Chloe Sinclair, Sally Deller and Clare Johnson limited Waves’ scoring opportunities to just 23 shots in the first half.
A 20-goal final term put the exclamation mark on a dominant 66-44 win, with goalers Tayla Shannon (16 from 19) and Daisy Hill (21 from 22) netting a perfect 20 from 20 for the quarter.
The result vaults the Hawks into seventh position on the Championship ladder, two games outside the top four with 12 rounds remaining in the season.
The Hawks’ Division 1 side found form in a big way in Round 6, scoring a 58-40 win over top-four team Peninsula Waves.
The teams were evenly matched early, with both applying heavy defensive pressure and going goal for goal throughout most of the first quarter.
But it was the Hawks who found another gear late in the term, opening up a 14-9 lead, before the teams again traded goals in the early stages of the second quarter.
Patience and hard work paid off for the Hawks when they went on a 10-goal scoring run to end the half and take what would be a match-winning 30-16 lead.
They extended it further in a 17-goal third quarter, with goal shooter Beth Wilson (21 from 28) picking up where best on court Elle Rice (21 from 23) left off, netting 14 goals for the term as the lead blew out to 22, while defensively the Hawks held Waves to less than 10 goals for the third consecutive quarter, with Emily Kay, Brodie Brunt, Olivia Spence and Chloe Duke all chipping in.
The win and significant percentage boost lifts the Hawks to fifth on the Division 1 ladder, just one game outside the top four.
In the 19/Under division the Hawks remain undefeated after six rounds, hanging on for a 45-45 draw against fellow top-four side Peninsula.
In a nail-biting first match of the evening between the first and third-placed sides, it was a shaky and error-strewn start to the first half for the Hawks, who managed only nine goals and trailed by two at the first change.
Some strong work from the Hawks’ midcourt setup a three-goal lead to finish the first half, with Abigail Inglis and Kaila Swindell impressing again and helping to clamp down on the Waves defensively.
Waves pushed hard in the second half, narrowing the margin to two goals at three-quarter time, and though the Hawks extended their advantage to five midway through the final 15 minutes, their opposition continued to
Waves had a chance to take the lead in the dying seconds, but a crucial intercept from goal defence Gemma Thomas gave the Hawks one last opportunity of their own.
The Hawks took the ball end to end, where a goal from Eliza Molino came a split second too late, as time ran out and left the teams to split the points.
The result keeps Hawks at the top of the 19/Under ladder, half a game ahead of Melbourne University Lightning.
Rounds 7 and 8 of the Victorian Netball League season – due to be played this Sunday, May 30 and Wednesday, June 2, have been cancelled due to Melbourne’s current COVID-19 lockdown, and may be rescheduled to a later date.