Wellington crowned Netball NZ U19 Champions
In a repeat final of last year’s age-group tournament, Wellington met Auckland but turned the table on their fellow northerners to net a 44-31 win for the Netball NZ U19 title in Invercargill on Thursday.
Wellington was in dominant form over the last two days of the four-day event played at ILT Stadium Southland – their closest opponent coming within 13 goals.
They netted 298 goals in six games (including the final) and restricted their opposition to 125 in a consistently strong defensive display during the week.
But they were forced to weather an early onslaught from Auckland in the final, the only other unbeaten team heading into the play-off, and little separated the two sides in the opening quarter.
Auckland stayed in touch with their opponent until halftime before Wellington’s forward line – spearheaded by ANZ Premiership players Tiana Metuarau and Maddy Gordon, and Beko Netball League shooter Bianca Nagaiya – started to dominate.
Wellington pulled clear in the third spell which they maintained in the fourth quarter to eventually win by 13 goals.
The two teams were largely untroubled on their path to the final with Auckland’s closest margin against Christchurch in the semifinal.
They beat the southerners 44-37 to earn an opportunity to play for the title while Wellington romped into the last two with a 45-15 win over Hamilton City.
It was the fifth time Wellington has won the New Zealand U19 title, having broken a 20-year drought in 2016 for victory. They also won the age-group tournament from 1994-1996.
The play-off for third and fourth saw Hamilton City beat Christchurch 33-27 for a top three finish.
The 2019 Netball NZ U19 Champs were proudly supported by the NZ Police.
3. Trust Waikato Hamilton City
5. Howick Pakuranga
6. Dunedin A
7. North Harbour
9. Eastern Waikato
14. Dunedin B
15. Bay of Plenty Cluster
16. North Otago
17. Hutt Valley