Saints win a thriller

April 26, 2017

The Saints came marching in the final quarter to clinch a three-point win over Echuca on Saturday.

Benalla Saints netball snagged the see-sawing match where both sides were leading for sustained periods of time. But it was the Benalla Saints that took hold of the game in the final minutes to secure its first win of the Goulburn Valley Netball League season.

Both sides fought for domination from the outset with neither managing to hold onto a strong lead.

At each break the sides were only separated by at most two points, until the final quarter.

Without head coach Dylan Nexhip, who was in NSW playing in his own netball tournament, captain Tylah Marchbank led the side to a 47-44 victory at home.

Nexhip said it was pleasing to see the team push hard even in his absence.

‘‘Very pleased to hear that result, for them to get out after a loss, and get out there and combine well,’’ Nexhip said.

‘‘I left (the coaching) up to our captain and vice-captain Tylah Marchbank and Georgie Roger and they were in charge and obviously did really well.’’

The win sees the Saints rise up the table to sixth place after two matches.

This weekend’s match, being played in Shepparton, is against the 11th-placed Shepparton Swans, a side that is yet to record a win.

But Nexhip said he was not taking training lightly this week and would be preparing to go to battle with the Swans on Saturday.

‘‘They’re always a good side and they have good players all over the court, as well as some good young girls that are up and coming,’’ he said.

‘‘They’ve just had a tough draw — they lost to Kyabram and to Euroa by one point, so they’ll be coming out hungry for that win.’’

Nexhip picked out Swans wing-attack Natalie Simpson as the single biggest threat to the Saints winning two in a row.

‘‘She’s a former best and fairest in the league, so if we can shut her down I reckon we have really increased our chances of winning,’’ he said.

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