Win credited to players

Title holders . . . Ex High Red coached by Colleen Bond won the Netball Eastern Southland top trophy for the 15th time on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

It could be said that Ex High has a firm grip on Netball Eastern Southland’s top prize.

On Saturday, an Ex High team coached by Colleen Bond lifted the MLT premier grade Trust Bank Cup for the 15th consecutive time.

Her Ex High Red team beat Chris Karena’s Ex High Black 29-13.

When asked why she had been so successful, Bond credited the players she had coached.

‘‘The players have done the work.

‘‘Over all those years there have been some nice players.

‘‘I guess they’ve got the motor and probably have got the ability to improve.

‘‘They were quality athletes.’’

While winning was important, she was more concerned with her players’ performance.

‘‘Winning is important, but it’s not the focus when you are doing the work.

‘‘You are wanting to make those players better players and develop them.

‘‘I have got high standards.’’

She had enjoyed an international umpiring career and retired in 2003.

After that she focused more on coaching.

‘‘Coaching brings in another dimension of understanding the game.

‘‘There’s so much to learn and, to be honest, I haven’t grown myself in the coaching role as much as what I probably should have,’’ Bond said.

‘‘I want to learn more but I think my time’s running out.’’

She had tried to find a replacement for herself but with no success.

‘‘Here I am, back in the job again.’’

While this was the 15th consecutive time Ex High had won the cup, there had also been other years when she had been at the helm and the team won.

Originally, when the two teams were formed it had not been about creating a top team and a second team.

‘‘We had too many good players to be in one team and so I decided to split them, and it may have been stronger in shooting in one side and stronger in defence in the other side.’’

It was better for the Eastern Southland netball competition to have two teams, she said.

First and second . . . Ex High Red and Ex High Black with coaches Chris Karena (left) and Colleen Bond celebrate a hard fought Netball Eastern Southland MLT premier grade final on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

In Saturday’s final she was impressed with the Black team’s performance.

‘‘The game didn’t reflect the score.’’

The Black team held its own for the first half, being down 6-5 at the end of the first quarter and down 13-9 at halftime.

It was in the third quarter the Reds outscored the Blacks 9-1.

At times, the Red defensive players made it difficult for the Black team to feed the ball into the shooters, she said.

Centre Sarah Martin played well.

‘‘Overall, she positioned really well.

‘‘On defence she got some turnover.’’

Karena said she was ‘‘proud’’ of her team.

‘‘They came to play.

‘‘The whole 10 of them gave 100%.’’

She was pleased with the result because before the match she had been concerned her team would be well-beaten.

‘‘It’s a huge testament to the work they’ve done.

‘‘They’ve improved heaps.’’