Swifts topple Kestrels, climb to second - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Swifts topple Kestrels, climb to second

08/06/2007 10:18:04 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Swifts have climbed to second position in the National Netball League after a hard-fought 55-50 win against the Melbourne Kestrels at Sydney's Olympic Park Sports Centre.

The Kestrels slid two places to fourth on the ladder after Adelaide jumped into third with their impressive 81-42 home victory against the Darters.

Also, top of the table Melbourne Phoenix remained unbeaten after a 67-50 home win over the Queensland Firebirds.

The Melbourne Kestrels led at every change leaving the Swifts to chase a two-goal lead in the last quarter.

Things looked grim for the home side when Swifts shooter Catherine Cox collided mid-air with Julie Prendergast and fell heavily.

But she recovered and the Swifts turned up the intensity, hitting the front with seven minutes to go after taking advantage of a rare miss from Kestrels goalshooter Caitlin Thwaites.

Swifts captain Liz Ellis swooped on the ball, sending it quickly down the court, where goal attack Susan Pratley put Sydney in front for the first time in the second half.

With three minutes to go the Swifts kicked out to a leisurely six-goal lead, the biggest of the match.

The Swifts appeared to have the Kestrels on the back foot early in the game, shooting the first three goals.

But the Kestrels returned fire through the impressive scoring from both Thwaites and Ashlee Howard, who didn't miss a shot throughout the first half.

Thwaites and Ellis fought a close battle and it was hard to tell the winner although Ellis was instrumental in several key turnovers for the Swifts.

The Kestrels saw out the first break 15-13 but the Swifts again started strong in the second quarter, equalling the score and then setting off on a three-point lead before the visitors called on a dubious injury to break Sydney's momentum.

It worked and Melbourne fought back to hit the lead again, once more thanks to their shooters who attained a perfect strike rate before the main break.

The Kestrels ended the first half three goals in front 30-27, after the Swifts let several opportunities to regain ground pass them by.

Although the ball passed quickly down court when in their possession, the Swifts continued to lag just behind while wing defence Jackie Murphy was replaced by Kimberly Purcell.

The Kestrels led the final change by two goals, 40-38.

Swifts coach Julie Fitzgerald said she was impressed with Sydney's last quarter effort.

"In the first three quarters we weren't quite showing enough confidence in attack or defence and I think ... the last quarter will really give us something to build on for next week," she said.

"When you're coming off a period when you haven't been playing as well as you like to, sometimes you just don't have that confidence and that free-flow, but we're starting to get a little of that back now."

Kestrels coach Jane Searle said her players were young but were looking forward to a re-match.

"It is disappointing having led for most of the match, but I knew they would come pretty strong at the last quarter, but we're getting better and better and if we meet again, then we'll be better," she said.

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