SEBASTOPOL is back on the winner’s list.
The Kookaburras broke a run of defeats that had spanned back to late last season when they toppled Ballarat 47-40 on Saturday afternoon.
It was way back in round 16 of 2011 when Sebastopol had last claimed victory, with the weekend’s success ending a streak of 15 straight losses in Ballarat Football League’s senior netball competition.
Kookaburras coach Chenay Wilkinson said Saturday’s result was a big thrill for the team, which had lost 72-31 to the Swans earlier in the season.
“It’s relief for me, and just excitement for the girls. I’m so happy for them to get a win,” Wilkinson, who had thought the round 12 defeat to North Ballarat City had been the team’s last chance of a win in 2012, said.
“It’s hard to keep your head up when you’re getting beaten quite comfortably every week.
“They keep coming to training every week and keep trying their best.”
Wilkinson believed recent success in a mid-week Ballarat Netball Association competition, in which Sebastopol fields an almost identical team to its Saturday outfit, had helped instil a winning culture in the group.
The Kookaburras trailed the Swans at half-time, but clicked following a handful of changes to the on-court line-up at the break.
Wilkinson said Cindy May in defence, Kaitlyn Ashmore in centre court and goaler Amy Marie were crucial in the victory.
Saturday’s defeat has all but ended Ballarat’s finals hopes, leaving it six points adrift of the top six with two rounds to play.
Meanwhile, Creswick and Learmonth have been left to fight out the remaining finals berth.
The Wickers (eighth) and the Lakies (ninth) sit level on points heading into the last round of the Central Highlands Netball League A-grade home and away season.
Creswick was beaten convincingly by ladder leaders Springbank on Saturday, allowing Learmonth, which was a 44-goal winner over Gordon, to remain a hope of clinching a top-eight berth.
With superior percentage, the Wickers are favoured to hold onto their spot in the eight with a winnable game against Rokewood-Corindhap (10th) this weekend, while the Lakies must upset Dunnstown (fifth) to have a chance of leapfrogging their rivals.
A battle for top-four spots, and a subsequent double chance in finals, will also take place this weekend.
Springbank and Hepburn are already assured of the top two positions, however, there could be a reshuffle in the other places.
Waubra (third) is four points clear of a group of three teams, including Bungaree (fourth), Dunnstown and Ballan (sixth).
A change in positions appears unlikely, though, with all sides inside the top six expected to win their final-round encounters against lower-ranked opponents.