BULLDOGS Verdelho will enter the Bathurst Netball Association A grade finals series with a spring in their step after beating ASC 1sts in the last round of the regular season.
Connections began to click late in the game for the Bulldogs and it allowed them to take a 40-30 win over an enthusiastic All Saints side.
A bolstered lineup and a more clinical attack over the second half were keys to the Bulldogs’ success.
“I’ve had a very up and down year. The biggest problem has been trying to field five of my [regular A grade] players,” coach Anita van Dartel said.
“This was the first time in about eight weeks where I’ve been able to do that, but life’s like that. You’ve got to laugh.
“It was a great game. My girls really got their stuff together in that final quarter.”
Bulldogs had ASC’s measure throughout the season with 51-40 and 40-28 wins in previous contests.
However, against an All Saints team playing for pride and looking to end their season on a high, it was going to take some strong netball from Bulldogs to get home.
I’ve got some sensational women in my team who are wonderful ambassadors for the game.Anita van Dartel
“It was nice having eight girls there because it meant I was able to try out some combinations that I haven’t been able to throughout the year,” van Dartel said.
In Saturday’s other fixture Panthers beat Mana 56-34.
Collegians Mystified secured the minor premiership thanks to a forfeit from CSU Thunder.
Finals matchups had already been determined several weeks ago.
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Collegians and Panthers battle for the first grand final place while Bulldogs and Mana play to keep their season alive.
Van Dartel is expecting a cracking minor semi-final.
“They’ve beaten us once and we’ve beaten them once,” she said.
“The last game we were beaten by them we had a couple of younger girls playing up. If there’s any indication from Saturday’s game we’ve finally got some momentum going.
“The girls have been saying to me all year ‘We’re just saving ourselves for you for the end of the year’,” she laughed.
“This is my first year coaching A grade and I must say I’ve got some sensational women in my team who are wonderful ambassadors for the game.”
Collegians and Panthers battled hard all season for the number one spot but the former held out 37 points to 35.
Both teams dropped just three games between them all year.
Bulldogs ended the season with 27 points to take a three point advantage over Mana into their semi-final clash.