Hectic schedule for Pride with three games in eight days

BALLARAT Pride launches its biggest week of the Victorian Netball League season on Wednesday night.

 Ballarat Pride captains Ashlea Melnikas (19/under), Johanna Dash (championship) and Sally Portbury (division one).

Ballarat Pride captains Ashlea Melnikas (19/under), Johanna Dash (championship) and Sally Portbury (division one).

Federation Uni Ballarat Pride faces second-placed Boroondara Genesis in the championship division at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.

This is tough enough in its own right.

Boroondara has eight wins in 11 rounds. Only the undefeated City West Falcons are doing better.

However, taking on Genesis is just the start as all teams in the VNL have a schedule taking in three games in eight days.

Pride will back up against Peninsula Waves in Ballarat on Saturday night and then VU Western Lightning next Wednesday.

When you are on the bottom of the ladder without a win, every game is like climbing a mountain and these three games are no exception.

Peninsula is fourth and although just a position ahead of Pride, Lightning is four wins better off.

If anything can give Pride a lift though, it might be getting to play in front of a home crowd at the Wendouree Netball Centre on Saturday.

While Ballarat has struggled on court, it has been successful at attracting enthusiastic, good size crowds.

Pride only has the two home games this season with the being on Sunday, June 1.

No matter what the outcome against Boroondara on Wednesday, Pride will be steeling itself for a special effort at home.

This goes for all three divisions under the on-court leadership of captains Johanna Dash (championship), Sally Portbury (division one) and Ashlea Melnikas (19/under).

Although wins have been hard to come by across the board – division one and the 19/under teams each have one win – this trio lacks nothing in enthusiasm.

Pride spokesman Jordan O’Keefe said 150-VNL game veteran Dash, Portbury and Melnikas had each worked hard to ensure their teams remained focus in what had been a testing campaign.

Pride could be playing for its survival in the VNL. Ballarat’s licence to play in the competition has not been renewed for beyond this season, but is eligible to reapply.

WEDNESDAY night’s schedule at State Netball and Hockey Centre:

Pride v Boroondara Genesis

7pm: division one

8.20pm: 19/under

9.40pm: championship

SATURDAY night’s schedule for the Wendouree Netball Centre:

Pride v Peninsula Waves

6pm: championship

7.30pm: division one

9pm: 19/under

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