Defending champions, but underdogs: Bathurst chasing upset win

THEY fulfilled the phrase ‘third time lucky’ last year and now Bathurst seek a repeat of that effort this Sunday in the West-Central West Regional League division one netball finals.

In 2017 Bathurst lost both their regular season matches to Orange before they peaked at the right time of the year, ending their rivals’ long-standing hold on the tournament.

FINALS: Rachel Murray and the Bathurst West-Central West Regional League Netball side will aim to defend their title this Sunday. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

FINALS: Rachel Murray and the Bathurst West-Central West Regional League Netball side will aim to defend their title this Sunday. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK

It’s an identical situation heading into this year’s edition but Bathurst need to up their game if they’re to pull a repeat success over Orange on the last day of the competition.

Bathurst coach Michael Germech said a win will likely require Orange to have a terrible day on the court.

“Last year we had confidence that there was a surprise in store but Orange know that we’re coming now,” he said.

“We plant to give a good account of ourselves but Orange have a strong team this year.

“The changes we’ve made to our team haven’t made us better or worse, they’ve just changed the way that we play. The problem is that Orange have a stronger side compared to last year and they’re well drilled and well coached.”

Sunday’s semi-finals see Orange face Dubbo and Bathurst play the Orange 17s.

Bathurst has enjoyed 45-28 and 55-39 wins over the younger Orange side from the opening two rounds.

“They will be pretty hungry to win, as you often are when someone’s in front of you,” Germech said.

“We’re a taller side than them though and the structure we play against them works well. We’ll definitely be favourites based on our previous results.

“When you look at those results, the gap between Orange and the Orange 17s is quite similar to the gap between us and Orange. But the Orange opens team keeps presenting us with problems that we just have cracked the code for.”

Bathurst have gone down by 16 points on two separate occasions to the Orange opens side this season, losing to the tune of 55-39 and 56-40.

Meanwhile the Bathurst division two team and division three under 17s side will go into their semi-finals as raging favourites to take out the title.

Neither team have dropped a match over their two rounds of netball.

Games start from 9am in Orange.

BATHURST: Grace Broadfield, Madeline McAlister, Jessica Matthews, Emma Miller, Rachel Murray, Sam Thompson, Claire Woolmington, Kate Burns, Chloe Madden, Saph Mitai-Ngatai, Alisha Glasgow