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Wellington Black A retain Netball NZ U17 Champs title for 2017

Wellington Black A have kept two hands firmly on the Anna Rowberry Cup for a second year, beating perennial rivals Auckland 1 in the final of the 2017 Netball NZ U17 Champs played at the Pukekohe Netball Centre.

Playing outdoors but undercover, before an enthusiastic crowd of 400, the defending champions Wellington A Black surged ahead in the third quarter of the final, and had to fend off a final charge by Auckland 1, to win 34-25.

Wellington’s assistant coach Irene van Dyk attributed the victory to a special harmony in the team.

“We didn’t have a full squad until the week before the tournament, with two players in the Beko [Netball] League, and others fulfilling commitments to other sports. But they all worked so hard to bring it together, which showed the harmony in this amazing team,” she said.

Wellington had been pushed hard in the morning’s semi-final clash, by the young Howick Pakuranga team of predominantly Year 11 players; the capital side eventually winning 29-22. Auckland had a more comfortable run into the final, beating Christchurch 54-26.

The Aucklanders took an early lead in the final, with goal shoot Bianca Nagaiya shooting well. But Wellington put pressure on late in the quarter, forcing Auckland into unnecessary errors, to close the gap to 7-5 in Auckland’s favour.

Van Dyk gave the Wellington side a rousing pep-talk, and they responded by contesting every ball and snatching the lead. Auckland had adapted by the end of the quarter, but Wellington held onto their advantage, 13-12, at halftime.

A wall of defence across court from Wellington gave them a formidable restart. Wing attack Salote Taufa deftly fed shooter Saviour Tui, for Wellington to score six unanswered goals in the third quarter, and lead 26-17 going into the final spell. Although Auckland rallied, Wellington maintained their intensity to take the win for the second year running.

Howick Pakuranga took out third place with a 29-16 victory over Christchurch.

The four-day outdoor tournament is the largest event on Netball New Zealand’s calendar, featuring 38 teams and more than 450 talented young players from throughout the country.

SEE DAY 4 RESULTS

SEE TOURNAMENT TEAM

Final Placings:

1 - Wellington Black A
2 - Auckland 1
3 - Howick Pakuranga A
4 - Christchurch
5 - Auckland 2
6 - Trust Waikato Hamilton City A
7 - Eastern Waikato
8 - Manawatu
9 - North Harbour 1
10 - Eastern Bay of Plenty
11 - Hawke's Bay
12 - North Harbour 2
13 - Taranaki
14 - Waitakere 2
15 - Harbourside
16 - Dunedin
17 - Waitakere 1
18 - Whanganui
19 - Trust Waikato Hamilton City B
20 - Whangarei
21 - Thames Valley
22 - Hutt Valley
23 - Wellington B Gold
24 - Mangere Otahuhu
25 - Pukekohe
26 - Nelson
27 - Gisborne
28 - Mid Canterbury
29 - Invercargill
30 - Papakura
31 - North Canterbury
32 - Kapi Mana
33 - Selwyn
34 - Rotorua
35 - Kapiti
36 - Ko Rua
37 - Wairarapa
38 - Invitational