Hill Solicitors claimed the 2016 Maitland netball A-grade premiership in another epic grand final against rivals The George Tavern.
In an exhausting battle, with numerous lead changes, Hills goal shooter Kim McQuillan’s accuracy under enormous pressure from the George defence was the difference in the end.
McQuillan won The Mercury player of the match award for her efforts in securing the 51-49 victory, which gave Hills the major-minor premiership double for this year.
While, McQuillan was the most consistent player over the match, players from both teams were exhausted after giving their all in the see-sawing encounter.
It looked like the game could head to overtime, after being locked at 36-all at the final break, but crucial intercepts by Hills centre Tara Puck, defender Katie Lawrence and wing defence Alana Bellamy gave Hills enough breathing space to claim victory.
Puck said it was thrilling to win such a tight game and a great reward for the team’s effort across the year.
“We worked so hard for this after last year’s disappointment. The girls are going to celebrate tonight,” she said.
“The scores were even at the final break and we just said to ourselves that we weren’t going to let this one slip.
The scores were even at the final break and we just said to ourselves that we weren’t going to let this one slip.
“Everyone put in such a great effort throughout the game. I agree that Kim’s accuracy in the end proved the difference as it was so tight.”
The George wing attack Ashlee Edwards was a close second to claiming the best player award with a tireless effort across the court.
George skipper Amonie Lindsell said she could not have asked for any more from her team.
“I’m obviously disappointed, but I couldn’t be prouder of the girls. They all played so hard, Hills were just the better team on the day,” she said.
There were numerous lead changes throughout the game as both teams tried to assert mid-court dominance and defenders made every entry into the circle a battle.
At quarter-time George led 13-11, but Hills had the better of the second term to establish a 26-24 break. By the final break it was 36-all.
George made the better start, but Hills clawed their way back to the lead with McQuillan and Katherine Zohrab converting their chances.