FOR A second consecutive year Picola United Netball Club’s A grade has narrowly missed out on finals in the Picola and District Netball League.
It again came down to the final home and away round, but a 41-goal hiding from Deniliquin at Deniliquin on Saturday has brought about a disappointing end to the Blues’ year.
Picola started the game well and showed plenty of intensity in the first quarter, only trailing by five goals at the break but then the wheels fell off, according to coach Leesa Hooppell.
United went down 27-68 at the final whistle.
‘‘Deniliquin was just faster, more precise and a lot taller than us,’’ she said.
‘‘Their goal shooter towered over our defenders and made for an easy target under the post.
But it was the Rovers’ other goaler which did the most damage on the day.
Lucy Howard was easily the best player on court and even when Picola tried to double team her she found a way around it and was left open on several occasions.
She fed brilliantly into the goal shooter which allowed Deniliquin to blow out the margin.
‘‘We just couldn’t shut (Howard) down,’’ Hooppell said.
‘‘We made a few changes at quarter-time to try and get back into the game, but we couldn’t reel Deniliquin in.’’
Under 17 player Ally Boyd came on into goals, having played several games up at senior level this season, but it didn’t make much difference to the outcome.
Deniliquin continued to dominate the game and by three-quarter-time the game was all but over.
Kimberly McPherson returned to her defending role in the third quarter after playing the second half of the year as a goaler.
She brought some height into the defence end, but it was Picola’s worst quarter in terms of scoring.
They scored two goals in the third quarter to be out of the contest.
‘‘We came to the realisation at three-quarter-time we were too many goals down to come back,’’ Hooppell said.
‘‘The last quarter was about enjoying the game and Deniliquin were good sports.
‘‘We moved Kim back into goals in the last quarter and brought Ally off which was a better combination.’’
Picola was now out of finals and while it was was disappointing Hooppell said Berrigan had deserved to finish fifth on the ladder.
‘‘We beat Berrigan twice this season, overall though they’ve been more competitive against the higher placed teams,’’ she said.
‘‘At the end of the day we needed to make each game count and probably let slip too many goals against the top sides.
‘‘It’s the second year in a row we’ve lucked out in the last game on percentage.’’
Hooppell said the biggest positive from the season was their ability to bleed juniors.
Several younger players had a taste of senior netball this year which even as a coach of A and B was Hooppell’s top priority.
‘‘It’s important to have strong junior development at the club and our juniors are up there as the strongest in the league,’’ she said.
‘‘We’ll get back on the recruiting wagon for next season and hopefully a few of those juniors will stick around to produce a really strong senior line-up in a couple years.
‘‘It’s still been an enjoyable year and we got a few good wins along the way.’’