Netball: Bombers miss top four

Buninyong has slipped out of the top four in the final round of the Central Highlands Netball League season on Saturday. 

TIME TO RESET: Janice Ayars from the Bombers looks to pass the ball during the round 17 match between the Buninyong and Gordon Eagles at Buninyong Football Ground. Picture: Dylan Burns

TIME TO RESET: Janice Ayars from the Bombers looks to pass the ball during the round 17 match between the Buninyong and Gordon Eagles at Buninyong Football Ground. Picture: Dylan Burns

The Bombers had home court advantage going into the must-win A-grade game, but fell short to 13th-placed Gordon to drop to sixth.  

The team will now face off in an elimination final against seventh-placed Ballan next week, which is coming off a tough 35-point loss to Bungaree.

Despite a bye to end the regular season, Dunnstown has finished on top of the ladder and remains undefeated.

This means it will have another week off before a home final against fourth-placed Beaufort. 

Beaufort claimed the double chance with a 31-point victory pushing Newlyn out of the eight and ending its hopes of a finals campaign.

Beaufort coach Jordyn Bibby said the fourth finish had been unexpected and the club was “pretty stoked” with the outcome.

“We knew Newlyn was going to throw everything at us because they were still hoping for a chance in finals,” Bibby said. 

“But all the girls contributed really well, stood up to the pressure and played a really great game.” 

Bibby said after a tough match against Learmonth the week prior, the players had focused on consolidating their own game including discipline and minimising turnovers ahead of finals.

Goal keeper Rebecca Lofts had a “tremendous” match after returning to the squad last week.

Bibby said Lofts and Jessica Hollett had combined well in defence to give the team opportunities to work the ball forward. 

Learmonth retained its second placing after toppling Hepburn by a healthy 38 points and will come up against third-placed Springbank in the qualifying final, which had a 35-point win over Creswick.

Fifth-placed Bungaree and eighth-placed Waubra will also face off in an elimination final next week.

Ladder: Dunnstown 68 points, 191.12%; Learmonth 64, 242.59; Springbank 60, 182.62; Beaufort 48, 147.91; Bungaree 46, 140.72; Buninyong 46, 138.52; Ballan 42, 108.59; Waubra 40, 102.06; Newlyn 36, 101.33; Rokewood 36, 101.23; Hepburn 36, 95.82; Clunes 26, 95.43; Gordon 20, 86.15; Creswick 20, 74.70; Skipton 12, 52.87; Carngham 8, 39.70; Smythesdale 4, 22.09.