THREE-and-a-half minutes of sudden-death netball provided a thrilling end to an enthralling 15 and under interleague netball contest.
Warrnambool and District defeated Colac and District 49-47 at Central Reserve, Colac, on Saturday in a match which lasted more than an hour and swung both ways.
The decisive moment arrived almost four minutes after the second period of extra time had ended, with either side needing a two-goal lead to win. Warrnambool and District wing defence Nicole Sandow created a turnover in the midcourt and started a chain of passes which finished with Bree Cummins.
The teenage shooter missed her attempt, but sidekick Marlee Convey claimed the rebound and made amends by shooting accurately.
The goal sparked celebrations among the Warrnambool and District players, who had led by 10 goals early in the third term before the hosts stormed back.
Warrnambool and District coach Chris van Kempen said Marlee was unaware the match was into sudden death and the result rested on her young shoulders.
“She wasn’t aware that was the winning goal … she has said in hindsight ‘I’m glad I didn’t know’,” she said.
Van Kempen said she attempted to calm her side down after the full-time siren sounded with scores locked at 34-all.
“We spoke at the break about composing ourselves and keeping our centre pass and capitalising on that,” she said.
“They composed themselves well. It was a matter of playing a possession game.”
Sandow was best on court for her “beautiful game”, while Bree (29 goals) and midcourter Caitlin Doukas were also influential.
The win marked a breakthrough triumph for Warrnambool and District, which lost both interleague netball matches to Colac and District last year.
Meanwhile, Warrnambool and District’s 17 and under side will take positives from its 33-23 interleague loss into Netball Victoria association championships in Ballarat next month.
Coach Raewyn Poumako said her team battled hard against Colac and District.
“We started quite evenly and had a lot more play than they did in our attacking end but it was a very physical game and well contested, so it made scoring for both teams hard,” she said.
“At the end of the first quarter it was close and the girls gave it a really good go.”
Poumako said her defensive end — defenders Brooke Hoare, Laura Bourke and wing defence Abby Sheehan — was steadfast.
She used all nine players and the team got through the match unscathed.