The Benalla Saints fell agonisingly short of a result against Shepparton Swans on Sunday.
The fourth-against-fifth elimination final, played at the Benalla Showgrounds, once again proved a close affair with the Swans walking away two-point winners.
The 34-36 loss came after a slow start — but as head coach Dylan Nexhip said, the Saints fought all the way until the final whistle.
‘‘Benalla clawed their way back into the match after bringing on young Kelsey Rigg who provided some extra height in the goal circle, combining well with Grace Thomas.
‘‘Tylah Marchbank and Grace Thomas were tireless in defence, giving the girls every opportunity they could,’’ he said.
Best on court for the Saints were skipper Marchbank, youngster Rigg and Bridget Hill.
‘‘The girls fought hard all day and never once gave up. They have had a great season, but unfortunately after today’s loss their finals campaign has come to an end,’’ Nexhip said.
In the B-grade qualifying final, Benalla defeated Shepparton Swans 43-40 to qualify for the grand final.
The ladder-leader fought hard to overcome the Swans in Mooroopna in Saturday’s twilight match.
With 14 wins, three losses and one draw in the normal season, the favourite knocked off the Swans in a tight match, and now await this weekend’s action to see who it will face in the big dance.
The best players for the Saints were Chantel Lindsay, Chloe Hill and Bec Robinson. The star on the night was Lindsay as goal shooter, whose accuracy under pressure ensured the win.
In the under-17 elimination final, Benalla came away with a five-goal win over the Swans.
The 59-54 scoreline in the fourth-against-fifth tie means the young netballers have a shot at qualifying for the grand final this weekend.
The girls kept their noses in front all match, but during the last quarter scores were level. The side lifted with help from captain Kelsey Rigg, who provided accurate shooting, while ball feeding into the ring by Georgia Pryor and Tubby Robinson got the side over the line.
The Saints’ best players were Kelsey Rigg, Georgia Pryor and Tubby Robinson.