HORSHAM Saints have won their first A Grade grand final since 2004.
The Saints claimed Wimmera Netball Association premiership glory after defeating Minyip-Murtoa by one goal, 48 to 47.
The game had the Burras leading the play in the first quarter, with the Saints falling eight goals behind come quarter time. The scoreboard read 17 to nine.
The second quarter was similar to the first with the Saints struggling to close the gap.
However, the Saints applied enough pressure to ensure the Burras did not extend their eight-goal lead.
At halftime the scoreboard had the Burras in front, 28 to 20.
For the third quarter, Ashley Hobbs came off the bench to replace Jess Cannane at wing defence.
The fresh pair of legs helped the Saints reset and narrow the Burras’ consistent lead.
Nearing the end of the third quarter, Minyip-Murtoa’s Stefanie Cooper went down with an injury, with Paula Wiedermann filling the position.
The third quarter ended with the Burras in the lead by four goals, 39 to 35.
The last quarter had the Saints pushing ahead and going goal for goal. As the final whistle neared it was down to the wire.
Horsham Saints was the team celebrating at the end after the thrilling one-goal victory.
Co-coach Shannon Reinheimer said she was lost for words.
“At the start of the year, we never believed we would make it to the grand finals,” she said. “We had nothing to lose, so we just played our little hearts out.”
Reinheimer said she was proud of her team for pushing back and turning the game on its head.
Co-coach Jess Cannane said the win was a long time coming.
“It hasn’t really soaked in, but it might by the time we finish celebrating,” she said.
During the final quarter, the sidelines swarmed with Horsham Saints colours. Cannane said the amount of supporters and the noise they made helped the team cross the line.
“The young kids thrive on the noise and it definitely helped us,” she said.
“We have a young side and they played with freedom and youth that held us in good stead.”
Horsham Saints’ Maggie Caris was named best on court.
Minyip-Murtoa put up an impressive fight, but fell short by one goal in the team's second chance at claiming Wimmera Netball Association A Grade premiership glory within two seasons.
The Burras had a long road to the grand finals, having played Horsham Demons in the semi-finals followed by a preliminary final match against Ararat.
Meanwhile, the Saints had the week off after defeating the Rats in the semi-finals.
Minyip-Murtoa’s Claire Drum said the grand final was an exciting match for both players and spectators.
“The team worked their heart out and I am very proud of them,” she said.
Drum said the team put everything into the game.
“It is never nice to lose these ones and the girls are pretty shattered,” she said.
“But we had our chances and unfortunately we didn’t take advantage of them at the right times.”
Despite falling short, Drum said the Burras showed an outstanding team effort.
“Young Maddie Morgan (in goal-attack) stood up beautifully, Laura Delahunty at wing-attack played an awesome game and the girls in the centre worked hard to the game plan,” she said.
“The goalers had a lot of pressure on them and copped a fair bit, but they kept on going.”
“It wasn’t good to see Stef hurt her knee … we don’t know how bad it is yet, but it’s never good.”
While she said there were some errors on occasion, the team came back with full force. She said the Saints were difficult to play.
“The standard they played was high and they got the momentum and swung with it,” she said.
“Maggie Caris is an awesome talent and she’s just got stronger and stronger.
“She’s in the system and I see great things for her.”