Kyneton is set for this weekend’s CBL North West Women’s Grand Final, as the debutant grand finalist aims for the ultimate victory on Saturday.
It’s been an incredible season for the Tigers amongst all our Country Basketball League associations as the short-and-sharp nature of the 2021 season has forced teams to adapt.
Kyneton rode the waves of Stage 4 restrictions, a late-start to the season and the uncertainty of 2020 to shine when it mattered in 2021. The Tigers earned a 3-2 record in the CBL North West Conference to push them into the finals before knocking over Maryborough 72-61 in the semi-final on Saturday last week.
The exceptional shooting of Michelle Fletcher (26 points), Jessica Mangan (15 points) as well as Adi Cameron and Alexandra Strawhorn (11 points each) helped set the stage for the ultimate showdown against the North West Women’s ladder leader Bendigo.
For Kyneton women’s captain Amelia Jarvis, the team’s fitness and respect amongst the group has pushed the Tigers to new heights in 2021.
“We have been working on fitness first, making sure we are the fittest that we could be to make a difference on the court,” Jarvis said. “However, having respect for one another and our coaches is definitely what makes our team stand out.”
Jarvis highlighted the exceptional performances of Alex Strawhorn, Michelle Fletcher and Adi Cameron throughout the 2021 season, with Cameron the Tiger to keep an eye on!
“Alex Strawhorn is our playmaker of the team,” Jarvis said. “She has the best basketball IQ and does the one-percenters well.
“Michelle Fletcher will be a key for us this Saturday night with her height, strength and finals experience.
“Adi Cameron will be the one to watch though, she is a great up and coming junior and I simply can’t wait to see what she can bring to the team this weekend.”
While it wasn’t meant to be for the Tigers during their Round 5 defeat against the Braves earlier in the year, it wasn’t the full complement of Kyneton’s or Bendigo’s rosters. For Jarvis, it helps levels the playing field and keeps all attention on the matter at hand on Saturday night.
“We lost to Bendigo during the season with both teams being depleted, so this weekend’s game will be interesting to hit out with our teams at full strength,” Jarvis said. “If we keep on playing the way we have, especially last weekend against Maryborough, we will be in with a good chance.
“We’re a great team and we all contribute in one way or another, whether we get on the court or not.”
With plenty of black and yellow jerseys set to fill out the stands at Maryborough on Saturday night, Jarvis believes the spirit and energy of the Kyneton faithful will be in full force for the final.
“The Kyneton crowd is definitely our sixth defender and I couldn’t be more proud to pull on this jersey each game and of course, a big thank you to the committee and our families, we couldn’t have done any of this without them,” Jarvis said.
Kyneton’s Mick Colverd said the club is shining off the court as well as on it with players coming to the association and enjoying the experience across the board.
“Inclusiveness, respect and teamwork,” Colverd said. “We have had a couple of new, young players join our men’s team this season and they have already stated how welcoming and supportive our existing team members have been.
“They love being a part of the Tiger culture, which is the best they have been a part of.”
That culture has flowed through to the fans, with the Tigers’ stands full to the brim of junior players each week. Having CBL in town has enabled the players to focus on playing their basketball for Kyneton throughout their basketball journeys and the results are speaking for themselves.
“The number of Tiger supporters for our game days are the envy of most other clubs,” Colverd said. “Our pathways for our younger basketball teams always had players going to the larger associations to further their representative basketball, but now there are senior representative basketball teams right in town.”
Kyneton will have to knock over the reigning champions Bendigo to take the title, but Colverd said it would mean everything to see the foundation players earn the ultimate success after sticking around to guide the team up the ladder.
“It would be a satisfying result to win the championship, to celebrate everybody’s hard work in establishing and improving our teams, with the core players of both teams being the same players that started in our debut CBL game in 2017,” Colverd said.
Kyneton will face Bendigo in the CBL North West Women’s grand final, held at Maryborough Sports Leisure Centre, 40 Gilles St, Maryborough, from 5pm on Saturday 6 March.
Keep an eye on our social media accounts throughout CBL Grand Final Day as we’ll be across the state bringing you the highlights of the seven championship deciders in Gippsland, South West, North West and North East.