THREE days, 18 games, 18 wins – the Bathurst Netball Association’s opens team continued its impressive run of form over the long weekend by clinching the Opens Division Two State Championship crown.
Having upset Orange in the Regional State League grand final earlier in the season, the Michael Germech coached Bathurst outfit dominated its division at the Baulkham Hill hosted state titles.
It marked the first time since Orange’s success in 2014 that a Central West outfit has clinched a Netball NSW state title at opens level.
Bathurst not only went undefeated through three packed days of competition, but in attack scored at least 83 goals more than any of its rivals and had the best defensive record of the 19 hopefuls as well.
“If you look at the 10 players we’ve got in our team, there are no weaknesses anywhere on the court. We never had to rest anyone or play weaker players, while a lot of the other teams had players in certain positions that weren’t as strong,” Germech said.
“Really as the weekend went on, we realised we were a pretty good chance of winning.”
The format of the tournament sees no finals, but rather the best performed side through the rounds crowned champions. Games were 26 minutes long.
Bathurst finished on 36 points, with Hawkesbury City four back in second.
Germech’s side beat Hawkesbury by five points in its third game of the carnival, Bathurst making a strong start with six consecutive wins on day one.
Eventual fourth-placegetter Glen Innes was also undefeated after day one, but on Sunday Bathurst pulled clear at the top of the ladder.
“We got down there on Saturday and the weather was a little how-would-you-be and we made a little bit of a scratchy start trying to deal with a slippery court and slippery ball and things like that,” Germech said.
“But as Saturday went on we started to get more confidence. On Sunday we played a lot of the weaker teams and we really started to build a lot more confidence, certainly that success meant we went into the final day confident.
“I knew with our players, if you put any of them on the court they would get the job done and they did. It was an awesome weekend.
“We were clearly a patch above just about every other team. Clearly after our success earlier in the year, we said here are the things that helped us be successful let’s keep doing so.
“The other teams hadn’t played together as often in tough games, for us when the chips were down we just kept getting the job done, we knew how to win.”
The victory has earned Bathurst promotion into the Championship division next year and already the coach and his players are looking forward to testing themselves in the top tier.
The next assignment for Germech’s side will be the State Cup in September, an event for the top regional and metropolitan teams.
He will give his players time off training to focus on club netball before resuming ahead of the State Cup.