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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Echuca wins netball invitational

Echuca won the Rochester pre-season invitational netball tournament on the weekend.

LUKE MCMANUS AND ZACH HUBBER April 3, 2014 4:04am

Echuca kicked off its season in the best possible fashion when it won the Rochester pre-season invitational event at the weekend.

The Murray Bombers competed among 19 other open teams to claim the title, eventually defeating Goulburn Valley Netball League combatant Euroa in the final.

B grade co-coach Misty Howard, who took the reins in the absence of coach Gina Pearson, said she was rapt with her team’s efforts.

‘‘I really didn’t know what to expect, but now I know we’ve got a really committed group of girls this year because of what they showed on the court,’’ Howard said.

‘‘Our defensive pressure across the day was great. The girls were pretty much unstoppable all day.’’

Echuca was impressive, winning its seven preliminary matches before defeating Kangaroo Flat in the semi-final and then Euroa.

The nine matches consisted of two 10-minute halves, resulting in a lot of tired bodies by day’s end.

But the efforts were rewarded with a $500 prize.

Holly Butler dominated in wing attack in her first hitout after having a baby last year.

Young guns Angela Slattery and Emily Atkinson also had a day to remember.

Howard said the 10 players who contributed gained a lot from the tournament ahead of their round one clash against Rochester on April 12.

The Tigerettes finished the tournament in seventh spot with two wins.

Senior coach Rachel Whipp praised the tournament for providing the perfect tune-up ahead of the new season.

‘‘It’s such a great comp,’’ Whipp said.

‘‘The weekend gave us an opportunity to try different combinations and really cement our team.

‘‘We have some new girls in our side and having so many games gives us a chance to try different systems. We can then refine and take that into the next game.’’

Tournament director Jac Rasmussen said the competition featured some great netball.

‘‘It was fabulous day, the weather was quite warm and the netball was superb,’’ she said.

‘‘To see so many talented netballers from various leagues competing against each other was great.

‘‘Both teams showed plenty of skill and will most likely go on to have a great season.

‘‘Echuca especially, it was a good win by them, showed good consistency throughout the day and they’ll certainly push the top teams this season.’’

Rasmussen also applauded the crowd’s support throughout the day, with district businesses benefiting from the many visitors who attended the tournament.

Luke McManus and Zach Hubber

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