Hawks Royal has claimed second position on the Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup ladder with a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Vipers on Saturday.
The 41-40 triumph improves their record to six and one and firmly entrenches the two blues inside the top four.
Hawks Royal will now bookmark a round 12 twelve rematch with Orange City that could determine which side claims the minor title.
Hawks player Tash Rudd was overjoyed with the character her team showed on the weekend and appreciated her side’s perseverance.
“We showed strength and faith in each other,” Rudd enthused.
“I’m really happy because we were behind but fought right down to the very end.”
Vipers took the upper hand early in the opening half, on the back of a superb attacking show. Simply, as Rudd put it, Vipers “couldn’t miss”.
Even though Hawks Royal trailed by seven at the half-time break, Rudd was confident they could still claw their way back.
“We knew we had the ability to come back as we hadn’t played our best netball,” she said.
“We turned around the pressure the Vipers were putting on us and we ended up putting that pressure back on them.
“Vipers are such a quality team across the court and I believe they’re playing some of their best netball this season, so it gives us a lot of confidence knowing we have that belief in each other to play until the very end.”
Player-coach Amanda Hurford normally plays wing defence but showed her versatility in a crucial switch to wing attack on Saturday.
Rudd acknowledged her presence on the court and listed Hurford as one of their best.
“She brought a calming influence that really helped us in the tense moments,” she said.
Although it might be best for Hawks Royal to take a week-to-week approach, it’s hard to ignore such a monumental match in round 12 against Orange City.
In their first match in round four, City scraped past the Hawks 45-44 and Rudd is confident her side can go one better next time.
“We know we’ve got it in us,” she said.
“It’s just about putting together a full 60 minutes and proving it to ourselves.”
Hawks Royal now sit two points behind Orange City leading into a tough month, which includes a clash against fourth-placed LIFE studio and another against the reigning nine-time champions.