Orange Physiotherapy Vipers have claimed their biggest scalp of the season, taking down ladder-leading Life Studio in a nail-biting Orange Netball Association Toyota Cup clash.
In the penultimate round of the regular season, the Vipers possibly nabbed their biggest scalp on the dawn of finals.
The 32-30 win over Life Studio is "certainly up there" in the side's best wins of 2019 according to coach Lynne Middleton, who labelled the clash "a pleasure to watch".
"The defence at either end was fantastic," she said.
"All over division one but especially Life Studio they've been scoring 50, 60, 70 points a game but this shows how good the defence was."
She said defenders at both ends showed "tenacity and determination" in their hunt for the ball and positioning, and while Vipers' shooters took time to warm up eventually a third-quarter blitz saw them hit the lead.
The Vipers were seven points down at the first break and four points down at the half, but a stunning third quarter gave them a two-point buffer at the final change.
We came into the match thinking we could match it with them and did.Vipers coach Lynne Middleton
"They let [Life Studio] get away early but they fought back," Middleton said.
They pushed the margin out to seven in the last quarter but Life Studio came back at them hard, cutting the margin to next to nothing but unable to nudge ahead in a match which will give the Vipers a massive confidence boost with just one more round until finals.
"We came into the match thinking we could match it with them and did," Middleton said.
"I'm very proud of the girls, it was a great performance."
While she heaped praise on her defenders, she said the mids were "slick" and the forwards brilliant once they warmed into the clash.
The other three games of the round all had large blow-outs in the final margin, with OHS picking up a 69-37 victory over Orange City Epiroc to cement their fourth position on the division one table.
In the other games, Life Studio Sportspower recorded a crushing win over Hawks Royal 66-27, while Orange City Craig Harvey Mechanical also had a big win over Life Studio Mid West Eyes.
The Hornets are now six points clear of Sportspower and locked into fourth unless the Epiroc pick up their first win of the season against Vipers this weekend.
Life Studio are still likely to finish top of the table, with a comfortable percentage buffer over City, but should they lose to the fifth-placed Life side will finish top of the table when finals begin on August 31.
DO YOU WANT MORE ORANGE SPORT?
- Receive our free newsletters delivered to your inbox, as well as breaking news alerts. Sign up below ...