Then there were nine: Hood crowned premiers after grand final bottler

Robin Hood has won the previous eight Orange Toyota Cup division one netball grand finals but there was something special about number nine.

On Saturday the eight-time defending champions continued their winning run when they edged out Royal Hawks 64-62 in an extra-time grand final classic.

“That’s the best win ever,” Robin Hood coach Cindy Gilchrist said after the victory.

“I think that’s probably the sweetest victory because we know that people want us to lose. And we’re nice people. But there’s been many teams before us that have been dominant and it’s just our turn. It will change.”

The eventual champions were pushed all the way by the grand final debutantes in a thrilling decider at Sir Neville Howse Stadium.

Robin Hood took a 12-9 advantage into the second period before Royal Hawks levelled the scores at 23-all by half-time.

The defending champs edged ahead again in the third period to lead 36-33 but Royal Hawks denied them the win in regulation time with the scored locked at 49-all.

Two seven-minute extra-time periods were needed to decide the winner.

The first seven minutes were stunning from all four shooters on the court as they all shot at 100 per cent.  However, it was Robin Hood who took the slim 57-56 lead into the final stanza.

It remained tight with Hawks leveling the scores again before Robin Hood were able to steal the two-goal victory.

Gilchrist said she was “quietly confident” going into extra-time and added it was her team’s key ingredient which pushed them to the win.

“The same thing that gets us over the line every year - it’s friendship. We play for each other. That’s what we do,” she smiled.

A victory in 2017 would take Robin Hood to a perfect 10.

“10 would be amazing,” Gilchrist said.

“We’ll still have our core group (in 2017). Some come and go with pregnancy, with travel, with school, but we’ll still have our core.”

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