Falcons? star rises
By CRAIG ROSScraigr@gladstoneobserver.com.au
YARALLA Dynamic Falcons had to twice withstand gallant Valley Stars fightbacks before securing Tuesday night's Gladstone Netball Association division one grand final with a 37-35 win over Valley Stars.
There was no shortage of twists and turns in the encounter at Memorial Park with both sides taking control of the match at various stages before a late rally gave Falcons the win to reverse last year's result.
Leading 9-7 after the first quar-ter, Falcons opened the second term in outstanding fashion, posting seven successive goals before their opponents were able to add to their account.
With Falcons centre Mel Frost and wing attack Carly Cooke in superb form, the team appeared to have gained a match-winning break before Stars hit back.
Stars abruptly halted Falcons' streak and, in turn, replied with a flurry of goals including a series of long-range shots from goal at-tack Vicki Shannon.
Centre Mel Whitmore and wing attack Niki Dennien continued feeding quality ball to Shannon and goal shooter Tracey Calis up front, and by halftime Stars had cut Falcons' advantage to 1916. Stars defensive pair Andrea Williams and Michelle Jones, who had competed strongly throughout the first half, lifted another notch in the third quarter to snuff out a number of Falcons attacking raids.
Stars outscored Falcons 9-8 for the term to trail by just two points at 27-25 down going into the final quarter.
Ignoring fatigue, both teams lifted the tempo again in a hecticfinal period during which Stars quickly drew level and then gained the lead before Falcons again produced a winning sequence ? six goals in a row ? to regain momentum.
With goal shooter Megan Jahnes and goal attack Helen Sherwood finding their mark, Falcons held on for a thrilling victory.
Defenders Angela Mills and Leisa Lowe, wing and goal attack Natalie Peut were also in excellent form for Falcons as was wing attack Carrie Hazeldine and substitue Lauren Rhodes despite limited time on court.