With competition for spots at the top end of the Goulburn Valley Netball League, the A-grade match between Seymour and Shepparton United was worth double points.
Separated by percentage alone on the ladder, the two sides fought out an evenly-matched first quarter before the Lions shot 13 goals to seven to push ahead in the second quarter and take a six-goal lead into half-time.
United’s cause wasn’t helped by an injury to star player Jessie Barnes-Hill, but the Lions continued to dominate and essentially managed to ice the game in the third quarter by restricting their opponent to just two goals, with great defensive pressure from Meg Grbac and Sarah Szczykulski, while netting another 13 themselves.
Shepparton fronted up for a more competitive final term, but Seymour ran out 44-26 winners.
Playing coach Laura Carland praised her side’s four-quarter effort and said Rosie O’Sullivan stood out as best on court.
‘‘Rosie didn’t give up being a good option down and around the court,’’ she said.
Ellie O’Sullivan (20) top-scored for the Lions with Carland (9) and Rebecca Beaton (8) also goaling well.
●Seymour’s B-grade side was out-muscled by Shepparton United and went down 42-60 despite clawing their way back into the contest at certain points in the game.
A blistering first quarter from the home side saw the Lions trailing by nine goals at the first break.
And while a resurgent second quarter had Seymour net 15 goals to 11 and get within striking distance of the Shepparton side, the resistance would be short-lived with United winning the second half by 13 goals.
Lions coach Marlee Koopman was glad her side could get back into the game in the second quarter, but said it was a disappointing loss.
‘‘It was a tough day on the court for the B-graders,’’ she said.
‘‘We had another great second quarter but were unable to match United for the remainder of the game.’’
Lyndel O’Sullivan (16 goals) put in some classy shooting and was best-on for Seymour with Mia Feery and Georgia Engel also standing out.
●A fast-paced United outfit was too good for the Lions’ B-reserves side with a commanding 51-23 win.
Sarah Waite shone in defence for Seymour, providing her side with repeat intercepts and rebounds in a best-on performance.
Sophie Gregson (7 goals) and Virginia Morgan also stood up for the Lions, who played their best netball in the first and final quarters.
●A second quarter fade-out cost Seymour the game in the under-17s as Shepparton United took an insurmountable 14-goal lead into the half-time break.
Sophie Locke (14 goals) top-scored for the Lions, with Oliva Barry was best on court.
Lions coach Ellie O’Sullivan said while the wet conditions made things difficult against a strong opponent she was proud of the way her side kept their heads held high throughout the contest.
‘‘Our defensive pressure down the court was great and allowed for many opportunities,’’ she said.
‘‘All the girls fought the whole game and did their best to match United’s physical game.’’
●Bridie Cantwell, Sophie Rutherford and Ruby Martin (22 goals) starred for Seymour, but the visitors were outclassed by Shepparton United and went down 56-36 in the under-15s division.
‘‘United came out firing on all cylinders and we were unable to match them,’’ Lions coach Courtney Aldous said.
‘‘We had some positive passages of play after making some match-up changes but just could not get over the line against a polished side.’’