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WBOP net first Beko Netball League win

The composure of Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty (WBOP)’s experienced netballers was key in netting the side’s first Beko Netball League win of the season.

They came from behind for a hard-fought victory over the Northern Marvels 42-40 at The Trusts Arena in Auckland on Sunday.

It was a stern test for WBOP having to overcome a low conversion rate in the shooting circle and fending off a desperate Marvels unit late in the game.

Captain Micaela Ashford was delighted to grab their first victory of the season after a couple of narrow defeats.

“There are so many things that pleased me about (that win),” she said after the match. “I’m just so so proud and we really wanted to get that win under our belt.”

Ashford paid tribute to the ANZ Premiership trio of Alex MacLeod-Smith, Grace Kukutai and Amorangi Malesala who took the court for her side saying their “calm heads” were key in a tight affair.

“It really helped to have the calm heads from the Magic in there,” she said. “Just knowing that we had each other’s backs was great.”

Marvels captain Renee Sandle believed a lack of “consistency” proved costly for her side after they started strongly.

“We had moments of brilliance and then we just let ourselves down,” she said. “It’s definitely a work on for us to stay consistent throughout the game.”

It was an intriguing battle with only a handful of goals separating the two sides throughout the 60 minutes.

The Marvels had a disrupted start with shooter Christie Anderson forced from the court after just four minutes with what looked like an ankle injury.

But they re-grouped well and went into the first break with a 12-10 lead on the back of a strong defensive effort from Elle Temu and SKYCITY Mystics training partner Tauhi Lopeti.

Mid-way through the second spell the Marvels opened up a six-goal advantage but a persistent WBOP side stuck to their jobs to close the gap to three by the main break.

Ashford worked tirelessly for the visitors in disrupting the Marvels flow on attack while Kukutai was a key link on attack with her vision going forward.

A positional switch in the WBOP shooting circle also proved pivotal in the changing fortunes of the side with coach Rebecca Greenhalgh switching goal attack Jessica Shed and shooter Amorangi Malesala around.

It allowed Malesala to get her hands onto more ball and her confidence in the circle saw WBOP draw level with just over five minutes in the third quarter before the goal attack put them into the lead heading into the deciding quarter.

The Marvels struggled to get ball out from their defensive end as a hungry WBOP forward line were quick to pick up any loose ball – a high turnover rate something the Auckland side will want to address before their next outing.