Bulldogs Verdelho within reach of Bathurst Netball Association A grade top two spot

BULLDOGS Verdelho have secured a spot in the Bathurst Netball Association A grade top three thanks to a win over the LJ Hooker Hawks but the girls in blue and yellow are aiming higher.

LEAPING: Bulldogs Verdelho's Olivia Johnston goes up for the ball in her side's match against LJ Hooker Hawks. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

LEAPING: Bulldogs Verdelho's Olivia Johnston goes up for the ball in her side's match against LJ Hooker Hawks. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

The 50-26 victory for the Bulldogs on Saturday has not only put them seven points clear of fourth-placed Hawks, it’s kept them well in the hunt of a major semi-final finish.

Hawks were chasing an upset in their bid to lock down a finals spot but they have two more weeks to try and make that happen.

Saturday was the first time the two clubs had met this season after Hawks were forced to forfeit their earlier match in the season.

Hawks coach Jodie Ryan said her side could walk away with their heads held high after the Bulldogs match.

“I thought they played the best game I’ve seen them play this year. They really rose to the occasion,” she said.

“In the first quarter I think we stunned the Bulldogs. I thought we got them by surprise and we were right up there. It was very impressive because it probably wasn’t the strongest team I’ve put on the court this year either.

“They were all positive after the game. I got to be quite physical in the end, and that was disappointing because it’s hard for my girls to play like that when they’re still learning to play at this A grade level. Bulldogs are an experienced team and that’s where it showed.

“They’re absolutely stoked that they’re right up there in the finals race this year. We came in looking to maybe learn something every two weeks and apply it … but they’ve gone above and beyond that.

“They’re showing improvement every week, and it doesn’t matter what combinations I put out there, they’re all working together as a team.”

The only other A grade game which took place on Saturday was the fixture between Collegians Mystified and Panthers WWL.

Competition leaders Mystified were far too strong in a 69-23 win to keep a one point lead at the top of the table over Panthers A.

However, that lead will come under threat next week when Collegians have to sit out with a bye.

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