Massey netball team triumphs in nail-biter final

The winning Massey team [Credit: Steff Jordaan Photography]

Massey University Netball has taken out top honours for the first time at the 2018 National Tertiary Netball Championships in Auckland.

The competition, held at the Barfoot & Thompson Netball Centre over the weekend, saw university teams from across the country vying it out for the title over two days. It is just the third-year of the netball tournament, and the first time Massey has won.

But it was a tough road to the final, narrowly edging out the University of Auckland team in the semi-final by just one point to win 33-32.

However, the hard work was just beginning, with Massey facing a determined University of Waikato team in the final.

The game played out much like the semi-final. After the first quarter, the scores were level at seven-all, but Massey was up 14-13 by half-time. Waikato managed to edge ahead and ended the third quarter 22-20, threatening to run away. However, some strong defence from Massey in the fourth quarter enabled them to find a turnover, and level up the scores. The Massey team managed to get another vital turnover with one minute to go, scoring a goal to go one up. Massey then had the centre pass with thirty seconds left in the game, and the defensive end was able to maintain possession and run out the clock sealing the win at 31-30.

Massey’s coach John Atkins says the win was a team effort all around.

“The whole squad contributed to the tournament and deserved their success. We rotated our team over the two days of the tournament using all 12 players which assisted in maintaining fresh legs when we needed them in the big games at the end.”

A tournament team was named after the tournament, made up of 12 star players from across the competition. Team captain and Bachelor of Veterinary Science student Steph Collins was named in the team, as well as Kahurangi Sturmey who studies a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise. By contrast Waikato had four players named.

“This is a classic case of the whole Massey team contributing to the performance,” Atkins says. “Other teams may have had champion players, but Massey showed it had a champion team.”

That team was made up of club players from Palmerston North and one player from the Wellington campus.

Atkins acknowledged the hard work of team manager Sarika Rona-Edwardson, support from players whose families are based in Auckland, the Massey basketball team who attended the final in support of the team, as well as the support of Massey’s Sport Coordinator Chris Sharrock.

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