Belfast Telegraph

One-sided netball clashes look set to continue

by richard bullick

THE phoney war continues in the Premier League tonight after last week's disappointing postponement of the biggest domestic match of the season so far.

Last Friday's scheduled showdown between the two teams with 100% records in the current campaign, Graduates and Larkfield, was called off late the previous evening in unsatisfactory circumstances.

The exasperated players were told that the postponement was due to the unavailability of umpires. Whatever the explanation, for such an important match not to go ahead at such short notice constitutes an embarrassing setback at a time when netball is enjoying increased spotlight.

The national team's qualification for the Commonwealth Games for the first time ever and Netball NI's successful hosting of the recent International Festival have given the sport a big boost but own goals must be avoided.

One reason that last week's clash was so eagerly anticipated was the lack of competitive contests in the Premier League this term, where mismatches have been more the norm.

That trend of one-sided scorelines is set to continue this time round.

Champions Belfast Ladies have the toughest task on paper, particularly if they remain understrength, though opponents Causeway haven't fully fired.

With frontline internationals such as Fionnuala Toner in their line-up along with some exciting new talent, the title holders should keep in touch with the leaders.

Graduates and Larkfield look certain to maintain their unblemished records by beating top flight newcomers Westside and Banbridge respectively.

Laganside will be expected to defeat Donaghadee easily enough so the closest contest should be between Bangor and Dromore.

PREMIER LEAGUE: Banbridge v Larkfield, Belfast Ladies v Causeway, Dromore v Bangor, Laganside v Donaghadee, Westside v Graduates.

Belfast Telegraph

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