Grammar face test in maiden finals campaign

Cameron NewboldAlbany Advertiser
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Grammar 1 will take plenty of confidence into their maiden Albany Netball Association A1 finals campaign when they face reigning premiers Kangas 1 in Saturday’s sudden-death first semifinal.

After joining the A1 competition in 2015, Grammar missed the finals in their first two seasons but qualified in fourth place this year after six wins, five losses and a draw.

That draw was one of two thrilling encounters between Grammar and Kangas during the regular season, with one goal separating the two in their other clash.

Grammar will be full strength for the final, with key shooter Cleo Bigwood returning from a knee injury in recent weeks. Coach Jenny Cristinelli said her side was excited to be playing at the serious time of the season.

“We are absolutely rapt to be playing, it’s been a three-year process to get to the finals,” Cristinelli said.

“We have a full contingency this week and the girls’ game has matured so much this year.

“We are definitely still underdogs because we haven’t beaten Kangas 1 but we’re excited to be playing them.”

Grammar enter the finals having won two of their past five games, while Kangas have only lost one of their past five matches.

After their 35-all draw in round 4 this season Kangas prevailed in a tight round 11 contest, 36-35, and will be aiming to reach a fourth successive grand final appearance.

Kangas won the A1 premiership in 2014 and 2016 and lost the 2015 decider to Magpies 1.

The first semifinal will start at 1pm on Saturday and the second semifinal between Royals Saints 1 and Magpies at 2.30pm.

Royals Saints, who played off in last year’s grand final, lost just one game in the regular season and defeated Magpies by two goals in round 3, while their other clash this year was a 35-all draw.

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