Echuca shines bright under lights with thrilling victory

By Lauren Bordin

Echuca clinched an outstanding one-point win against Shepparton on Saturday night to take top spot on the Northern Country Women’s League ladder.

The position previously belonged to the Bears, but under lights at Victoria Park the home ground advantage helped Murray Bombers over the line.

As the fog set in following the Goulburn Valley League senior match, the women’s action off to a blistering start with Shepparton taking the lead.

The away side jumped to a two-goal buffer at quarter-time, but Echuca was on the march in the second term to pull back the game in its favour.

The Murray Bombers took control in the second term, but a tight tussle ensued for the rest of the game as the home team celebrated the 6.8 (44) to 6.7 (43) win.

Sophie Douglas and Jessica Pitts each kicked two goals, while Jodie Lake starred for the winning side.

Shepparton was well served by Samantha Heron, who was rewarded with three goals for her efforts, while Vicki Merritt and Leigh Arthur also gave their all.

●While Nathalia was unable to field a side to send to Kerang during the long weekend, Purples coach Fiona Byrnes is still happy with the side she is building.

Nathalia players were ecstatic to achieve their first win of the season against Mooroopna last week and Byrnes said they would continue to build for the rest of the season.

‘‘They loved it, it was like we’d won the grand final, but it’ll continue to be a slow process from now on,’’ she said.

‘‘Some of these girls picked up a football for the first time, so you can imagine it’s right back to basics, but really about having fun and winning will come eventually.’’

Former Shepparton stars Allison Trethowan and Catriona Holt are the only two on the list to have played football before and Byrnes wants the newcomers to return next season.

‘‘It’s a whole lot of fun, we’ve got really good numbers, but we just want to maintain a level that’s fun, you don’t want to get too serious,’’ she said.

‘‘You do want to win, but it’s women’s football in the country and they like coming to training, some think it’s a lot more fun than netball training, so you want to keep it that way.’’

The Purples have a bye this week before resuming their season against Rumbalara on June 24.

●Benalla flexed its muscles against Rumbalara for a sensational 71-2 win.

Both of Rumba’s scores came in the first quarter, while the Saints dominated from the outset.

Their most productive term was the third when they put through 3.3.