Bendigo makes Ballarat pay

STAR SHOOTER: Bendigo's Gabe Richards tussles with Emma Inverarity. Richards was a dominant force in attack as Bendigo won 60 goals to 38. Picture: Dylan Burns

STAR SHOOTER: Bendigo's Gabe Richards tussles with Emma Inverarity. Richards was a dominant force in attack as Bendigo won 60 goals to 38. Picture: Dylan Burns

Bendigo took less than one quarter to blow away Ballarat Football Netball League’s hopes in their AFL Victoria Community Championships senior netball clash at Bendigo on Saturday.

A series of turnovers in the opening minutes and the presence of 188cm goal shooter Gabrielle Richards for Bendigo spelt doom.

Ballarat struggled to keep possession and Richards, who plays as a centre for Bendigo Spirit in the Women’s National Basketball League, did the rest with her superior height and high percentage shooting.

Bendigo led 13-5 in the blink of an eye and by midway through the second quarter leading by 16 goals.

Ballarat made a 9-3 run in the third term to close within six and suddenly be back in contention.

However, with an opportunity to reduce the deficit to five it was again hurt by a turnover and Bendigo assumed control again before running away with a 21-8 last stanza and win 60-38.

Interleague coach Annie McCartin was disappointed with the result and was left to rue the sluggish start. But she was buoyed by the third quarter fightback, but ultimately it was punished for its critical turnovers. 

“We didn’t have a very good start, we just took a while to get it together,” McCartin said.

“They were just too big and strong for us on the day.

“But to the girl’s credit we got it back to six goals in the third quarter and I thought we were in with a chance.”

McCartin praised her defenders, Emma Church and Emma Inverarity, for their job on such difficult opponents.

Church won the medal for Ballarat’s best.