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Top 16 found at U18 Champs

An exciting all-Auckland clash looms large with a place in the Celebration Box Netball NZ U18 Champs quarter-finals at stake in Rotorua tomorrow.

Teams from around the country have been vying for a place in the championship top 16 at the Rotorua Netball Centre where the Margaret Forsyth Cup is up for grabs.

Netball New Zealand Emerging Talent Selector Nicki Paterson said she had been pleased with the standard of play over the first two days with more favourable weather conditions on Tuesday also adding to a lift in performance.

“It’s been really pleasing to see what the teams are doing out there,” she said. “There’s been lots of positivity from the sidelines and some really good netball on display with some close games to determine which teams went through to post pool play.”

She expected it to lift again on Wednesday with top 16 teams contesting must-win matches to progress through to the quarter-finals.

“Teams can have a bit of a second bite at the cherry in pool play but there’s more at stake tomorrow.”

Auckland 1 has set the bar over the opening two days with the Liz Page-coached team dominating its pool and keeping all but one of its opponents to single digits.

The team, which features National Netball League defender Carys Stythe, netted a massive 245 goals in its four pool games and conceded just 32 en route to the top 16.

But it now faces its number two team which narrowly missed out to Dunedin in topping its pool – the result of tomorrow morning’s match earning the victor a place in the top eight.

Dunedin clinched the top spot in Pool D and will take on Taranaki on Wednesday for a chance to reach the quarter finals.

Coached by former Silver Fern Jodi Brown, Dunedin nailed a thriller against Auckland 2 in their toughest pool match winning the game 29-28.

The two Christchurch teams are also through to the top 16 with the Red team going through undefeated to claim Pool G while the Black team finished second to Hamilton City A in Pool H.

Hamilton City A has impressed over the first two days to go through unbeaten to post pool play while Waitakere’s two teams both topped their respective pools and Tauranga needed a 26-23 victory over Eastern Waikato to qualify top of Pool B.

Wellington’s two teams also progressed to the top 16 with its Black team finishing top of Pool F and the Gold side second in Pool A. Invercargill, Hutt Valley and Eastern Bay of Plenty were the other sides to reach the top 16.

The Celebration Box Netball NZ U18 Champs final will be played on Thursday at the Rotorua Netball Centre at 2.45pm.