Vipers steal second, City romp home and race for fourth heats up again | Photos

Vipers’ goal is to finish in the top two come the end of the Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup season and the side took a big step to doing just that last weekend.

In a hard-fought third-versus-fourth showdown, Vipers accounted for Life Studio 41-35 to move into a share of second with Hawks Royal.

The two sides are equal on competition points, but on percentage the navy and teal bibs have actually edged ahead of Hawks after the two blues were thumped 61-37 by competition leaders Orange City.

“Our aim is to finish in that top two, mainly so we can have two chances and a really good crack in the semi-finals,” Vipers’ Sophie Fardell explained.

“I didn’t expect the goal difference (between City and Hawks) to be that large, but I also didn’t see the game so I probably can’t comment. At this end of the season it’s all tough though, anything can happen.”

Hanging on to second spot will be a tough ask for Vipers despite their undeniable quality, they face Orange City and then both Hawks’ sides in the final three weeks of the regular season.

“It’d be nice to end the season with some big wins but the next few weeks are very tough, I guess they’ll be good preparation for the finals though,” Fardell said, Vipers are guaranteed a post-season spot.

Vipers actually trailed Life Studio at quarter-time, before building in the second period and really finding their groove after the main break.

“The first two quarters were very tight, I think it was the third quarter where we were the most dominant, that’s where our confidence started to develop,” Fardell explained.

“Life played really well and I can definitely see their improvement, they were an extremely tough side and it could easily have gone their way.”

Fardell heaped praise on boom 2017 recruit Soph Kleeman, who was once again outstanding in the attacking third, along with a couple of others.

“Soph shot outstandingly,” Fardell said.

“Jacky (Lyden) and Bridie (McClure) were strong through the centre court too. Our defensive end was slow to start but through the quarters I felt we worked really well as a unit.”

In Saturday’s two other results Life Studio Mid West Eyes defeated Kinross 50-47 and Orange City Newey’s Drive-Thru Cleaners took down Hawks Central Fitness 41-32.

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