BATHURST’S opens side weren’t sure what to expect during their first outing in the Netball NSW State Championship’s top tier competition last weekend.
The team travelled to Gosford with a major aim of a mid table finish, just one year after winning the division two title.
Bathurst played their share of sublime netball to return home with a seventh place result in the 17-team competition.
The Bathurst women ended their tournament with a 9-7 record to lead a closely packed group of teams chasing the competition’s six standout associations.
Coach Michael Germech said his players can be proud of making a statement against some serious opposition.
“I didn’t know what we’d be up against. It was a new experience for all of us,” he said.
“We were pretty successful last year so we thought that meant that we could do okay. We’d knew we’d be playing much tougher opponents and that we would need a tougher brand of netball, which we soon found out.
“As the weekend went on we got a better sense of what we needed to do and we slowly came to grips with that.”
Bathurst lost to the six teams who finished ahead of them on the ladder – Newcastle, Charleston, Gosford, Wyong, Lismore and eventual champions Manly Warringah – but certainly showed they belong in the competition’s top division.
Germech said the tougher competition brought out a strong brand of netball from Bathurst.
“There were a couple of teams that we were never going to beat. We were level with Manly Warringah at half-time and they probably took us a bit too easy,” he said.
“They went on to be undefeated winners but we stuck with them for half a game.
“The games against the top teams were the ones we enjoyed the most. They showed that we’re not as sharp and well drilled as they are but there’s no reason why we can’t be in coming years.”
Outside of their other loss, to Hills District (19-14), Bathurst picked up some memorable results.
Some of Bathurst’s hardest-fought wins came against Bankstown City (20-16), Kurri Kurri (18-14) and their closing contest with Baulkham Hills (23-17).
The overall result made for a wonderful long weekend along with the runner-up Bathurst under 17s team.
“There was great camaraderie between our two teams who played. We were fortunate that our games were on different sides of the draw, so both teams were always there supporting each other,” Germech said.
“There was lots of positivity coming out of the whole weekend. We were losing games but coming away thinking ‘Wow, that was a great game of netball’.”