ROCHESTER took out the top prize in the inaugural 15 and under competition at the Community Bank Rochester Netball Invitational on Saturday.
The Rochester Tigerettes defeated Golden Square 23-7 in the grand final to secure success in the tournament.
Best on court was awarded to young Tiger Kasey Conder after the grand final for a fine display in getting her side over the line.
The team went through the pool games undefeated, and beat fourth-placed Shepparton Bears to book its spot in the final against Golden Square.
It was a brilliant start to the annual event, which saw more than 500 people swarm the Rochester Netball Courts to witness some of country Victoria’s top netball talent clash in a preseason round robin tournament.
In its sixth year, the event pulled in 34 teams travelling from Murchison, Numurkah, Kangaroo Flat and beyond.
Echuca went head-to-head with Kangaroo Flat in the 17 and under final, with Kangaroo Flat slotting a four-point win.
Both teams performed extremely well despite the blistering weather.
This year’s open grand final was a repeat of 2017, with Shepparton United and Eaglehawk battling for the victory.
In a nail-biting finish, Eaglehawk shot the winning goal just before the siren went.
Tournament director Jac Rasmussen said the day was a massive success.
‘‘It’s one of the major fundraisers for the netball department of the Rochester Football Netball Club, attracting teams from six different leagues across Victoria,’’ she said.
‘‘Plus it’s great preparation for all the teams, for what’s coming up in the season.’’
Bendigo Bank Rochester senior branch manager Tracie Kyne said it was great to see a local side take out the honours.
‘‘Absolutely it was another success, there was so many people down there for the matches, it was certainly well attended and an incredible competition again,’’ she said.
‘‘And we’re happy to once again be the main sponsor for it.
‘‘We were rapt to have a Rochy team win and just show the talent we have here.’’
Ms Kyne said there tends to be a lot of talent unearthed in pre-season tournaments such as this one.
‘‘This is the weekend where they do spot great talent and it shows the strength of the players,’’ she said.
‘‘The sporting clubs and competitions in Rochy well and truly compete and keep up with the big towns.
‘‘Being a small community it’s amazing to see the talent we have out there. The strength of the members and volunteers means these big things are not just left to one person to run it and that’s absolutely a credit to them’’
At the close of the day, director of the Elmore, Lockington and Rochester Community Bank branches Alan Darbyshire presented the winning teams with $500 cheques.
The event was also supported by Campaspe Shire and Peter Walsh.
Other sponsors included La Trobe University, Rochester Motel, Mel’s Corner Cafe, Rochester Wine Tavern and Rochester Newsagency.