Diggers Rest’s premiership dreams were dashed by Rupertswood in the Riddell District Netball League on Sunday.
Playing in netball grand finals for the first time since 2009, the Burras were confident they could take it to Rupertswood, in both the B-grade and C-grade grand finals.
It wasn’t to be, with the Burras falling short against the teams that have been the benchmark of their divisions the past few years.
Sarah Carroll, who coached both the B-grade and C-grade Burras sides, said the club was massively proud of the development of both teams and the netball program in general.
“We were determined to put on a good show and I think we did that for three quarters,” she said. “In the end, Rupo are a class act and they got away with the goods.
“We are super excited. If we can play like this, on such a big occasion after not being in the ‘granny’ for nearly 10 years, it’s really exiting for the club – definitely heading in the right direction in the netball department.
“We have the list, the passion and the drive and we will get there.”
The C-grade team took to the court first, but was unable to overcome a slow start. After a low-scoring first quarter, the Sharks led 6-2.
They stretched the margin out to eight goals at three-quarter time before the Burras pinned it back to four at the end, the final margin being 23-19.
Carroll said nerves got the better of the Burras early in the game.
“Despite that, we stayed in the game for most of it – but the first quarter cost us,” she said.
“We weren’t able to peg it back come the final minutes of the game.
“I’m super proud of the girls – they have improved out of sight. No doubt they will be up there next year contesting with the best.”
Toni Fogarty, who won the league’s C-grade best and fairest award, was the Burras’ best in the loss. Emma Brooking shot 11 goals.
The B-grade grand final was a thriller that wasn’t decided until the dying minutes.
The Burras took confidence into the match thanks to a semi-final win over the Sharks, who had won the previous three premierships.
Scores were level at the first two breaks and the Sharks led by two goals at the final change.
The Sharks found an extra gear to claim the win 32-24 and their fourth straight premiership.
Carroll said the Burras ran out of legs – and that it was something they would look at fixing during the off season.
“We’ll have a big pre-season, work on our fitness and come back a fitter outfit,” she said.
“Next year we’ll be a little bit fitter, a little bit wiser, a little bit more experienced – and I’m sure we will be there again.”
Jorgia Leonard and Erin Surkitt were named the Burras’ best in the loss, while Eliza Wright shot 11 goals.
In the other netball grand finals, Romsey took home the A-grade premiership with a start-to-finish performance against Lancefield.
The Redbacks got the jump early, eventually winning 56-40, with Cayley Armstrong named best on court.
Rupertswood’s third premiership for the day came from its under-19 side, which beat Macedon.
The Sharks had to come from behind, eventually winning 27-25.