‘Old heads’, new combine

Nationals team . . . The Dunedin men's netball team, pictured here with support crew, finished third in the B grade at the 2018 men's nationals in Porirua last month. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

“Old heads” and new players took to the court when the Dunedin men’s netball team competed in the national tournament last month.

The team of 12 competed in the B grade section of the tournament, held in Porirua from September 12 to 15.

It played 10 games – eight round-robin matches, against Christchurch B and C, Wellington, Waikato, Southland A and B, Northern Stormers and Nelson, a quarterfinal and a semifinal.

Player Mark Dore said the team only lost two games in the round robin – to Nelson and Southland A – and drew with Christchurch B.

The team was third heading into the semifinals based on points differential. It beat Christchurch C 32-12 in the quarterfinal and lost to Nelson A 33-27 in the semifinal to finish third overall.

“I think some of us old heads were hoping to get into the finals but compared to last year it was a huge improvement.”

Last year was the first time the team had gone to nationals in about eight years and the competition was more of an open grade, as opposed to sections like this year.

Dore said it was great to play against Nelson, as it didn’t compete at nationals last year. In their games, Dunedin lost by two points in the round robin and six points in the semifinal.

Nelson played Southland A in the final, Southland winning by one point.

“So our contest was pretty good, really.”

The Dunedin representative team was “a real combination of some new players, some that played last year and then some old heads as well”.

It was a mixture of players from two Markhams College teams that played in the premier men’s competition at the Edgar Centre on Saturdays.

They played each other about six times throughout the season, as well as playing premier women’s teams.

“There was a really good rivalry between the two [men’s teams].”

To prepare for the national competition, the team played games against Southland A and B.