A close one’s brewing on Court 4 in this Unisport Nationals Netball fourth round fixture.
Bond University had maintained an early four-goal margin for a while, but crosstown rival Griffith University is slowly but surely hauling it in.
Halfway through the third quarter, scores are level at 26 apiece.
Cue the noise.
“Let’s go Sharkies!” echoes around the Gold Coast Recreation Precinct in Tallebudgera.
Cheering goals is one thing. But the way Bond is celebrating the gritty little one-percenters is entirely another.
For every intercept or deflection or scrapped loose ball, the noise ratchets up a notch.
When Bond’s livewire Wing Defence secures a crucial turnover to quieten Griffith’s run, the walls are shaking.
When a Bull Sharks goal ensues and Bond reclaims the lead with ten to play, it feels like the roof might lift off the joint.
Jessica Eyres is one of Bond’s shooting options. A knee problem is limiting the Bachelor of Physiotherapy student’s court-time today, but nothing is dampening her enthusiasm.
“We all know each other pretty well because we play together in a Monday night Division 1 competition here on the Gold Coast,” she says. “We definitely like to compete.”
And compete they do. Bond enjoys a run of goals in the final quarter and in the end holds off a gallant Griffith by two goals.
Eyres, who originally hails from Victoria and works part-time as a netball coach at Gold Coast netball nursery Somerset College, says her team is made up of players from all over Australia.
“People come from everywhere to study at Bond I guess, and that’s reflected in the makeup of our squad. It’s been a great way for us to connect. We all absolutely love it.”
The Bond UniSport team is coached by Ella Spencer, an athletic defender who played for Bond University Bull Sharks in the elite Hart Sapphire Series earlier this year.
“There’s definitely some talented athletes among our team,” she says. “They play with great spirit and determination for each other and they’re all really coachable. We’re having a lot of fun.”
The 2023 UniSport Nationals are currently underway on the Gold Coast. Over 6,000 participants from universities across the country battle it out to be crowned national champions in one of 31 different sports.
Bond University's determined netballers overcame injury to five key players to finish the UniSport Nationals competition in a creditable 12th place out of 32 teams.
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