HORSHAM District league has witnessed one of the closest A Grade netball seasons to date in 2017.
Natimuk United came from third place to defeat second-placed Harrow-Balmoral in a tense grand final.
The Ewes won 44-41.
The Southern Roos were favourites for the title and had a good, even spread of young, talented netballers and experienced heads – including Ebonie Salter, Kate Vickery and Megan Russell.
The Ewes boasted a team with incredible chemistry this year, with a large portion of players playing a minimum of three seasons together.
A strong recruiting off-season for Laharum saw the team climb to supremacy early in the season. They secured the likes of Aily and Jordie McAuliffe, Rebecca McIntyre and Ally Hiscock to round out a strong but young side.
The Mountain Maids finished the season as minor premiers but couldn’t transfer that success into finals.
The experienced teams such as the Ewes and the Southern Roos managed to use their knowledge and finals experience to be the two squads to oust the Mountain Maids in the finals series.
The Mountain Maids recorded only one loss throughout the home-and-away campaign, which was against the Southern Mallee Giants in round 11, 40-30.
League chairman Graeme King said the standard of netball had improved constantly across the past few seasons.
“The netball crowd at the grand final was huge,” he said.
“It has been excellent the past couple of years.
“A lot of supporters congregated to the sound of the netball courts because the game was so close.”
It was also one of the tightest finals series in several years with the biggest win coming in the elimination final between the Ewes and Edenhope-Apsley.
The Ewes were favourites to win against the Saints, who had been ravaged by injuries throughout the season.
The Giants came out with a strong team in 2017 and didn’t disappoint throughout the year.
They were led by new-to-the-area coach Kelly Gray.
Noradjuha-Quantong had to re-shuffle from its previous season.
After a difficult fourth, fifth and sixth round Yolanda Molineaux and Sharon Fedke’s young team started to gain some well deserved momentum coming into the finals.