Bombers’ season ends with unfinished business

Riddell coach Adam Boldiston was full of praise for Kirby Elliott's season in defense. (Shawn Smits)

Oliver Lees

Riddell will have to wait until next year to chase its premiership dream, following the announcement that the Riddell District Netball League season will be scrapped without finals.

The Bombers were in flying form before lockdown restrictions put a stop to community sport, sitting atop the ladder with eight wins and two losses.

Riddell coach Adam Boldiston said it was disappointing for the club not to be able to get closure on the promising season.

“It’s frustrating for every team in the league, it’s just an unfortunate way for the season to finish,” Boldiston said.

“We did hold on to a small glimmer of hope that we might be able to go straight into finals. It’s a hollow feeling thinking about what could have been and not being able to take control.

“It feels like we’ve got unfinished business.”

After losing their first match of the season, the Bombers were able to string together eight consecutive wins to lodge their place in the top four.

Their forward half fire power was too much for most sides as they held the highest goal tally (540) and percentage (152.5) through 10 matches.

Reflecting on the season, Boldiston said “it wasn’t all doom and gloom”, with a number of impressive performances in trying circumstances.

“There were times when we were limited in the players we could put out on the court, so that meant we found a lot of new promising combinations,” he said.

“We had players coming in and out with state league commitments, but I was confident we would be able to keep building.”

Boldiston said the mixture of experienced and younger players was crucial.

“That has always been the key, they [experienced players] impart their knowledge on the other players,” he said.

“Kirby Elliott really flourished down the defensive end. In fact across both defensive positions and wing defence she was quite dominant.

“Ellen Close really matured as a player and took the leadership role in the attacking end. She started to shoot some really awesome goals and was playing with some real confidence.

“Probably the stand out game was beating Wallan. We really asserted our dominance on the competition, and I think the rest of the league was starting to take note.”

The Bombers cruised home in that round seven contest, crushing Wallan 60-32.

Wallan would have the last laugh however, pipping the bomber 46-41 in the last match of the season in July.

Boldiston said the league will arrive at a decision soon as to whether teams at the top of each division will be awarded the title of premier or minor premiers.

“In the limbo of COVID-19 we did online pilates sessions and the vibe was really good, so I feel confident we’ll have our full complement of players back next season,” he said.

“I’m pretty sure the girls are super keen to win a premiership together.”