NETBALL HISTORY: 1994 Mobil Superleague Grand Final – Contax v Garville

NETBALL HISTORY: 1994 Mobil Superleague Grand Final – Contax v Garville2020-08-28T23:47:00+10:00
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  • Avatar photoIan Harkin
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      This match will forever be remembered as one of the most embarrassing moments in Australian netball, featuring an error that seemingly robbed a team of victory. A closely fought match throughout between two great rivals, during the third Q, the official scorer inexplicably gave one of Garville’s goals to Contax. When full time was blown, Garville believed they had won. After all, they had put the ball through the ring two more times than their opposition. But the official score had the game dead level. Garville protested to the scorer’s bench but to no avail. Extra time was then played, and unsurprisingly, a deflated Garville were beaten. Contax ran out winners by 3 goals. There were appeals, but the result stood. Contax were winners, despite the fact that over the 60 minutes of regular time, they had only scored 46 goals while Garville had scored 48.


      Thanks to Netball Fan…

      Avatar photoIan Harkin
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        Sarah Angove
        Audine Cobb
        Monica Dinan
        Kathryn Harby (captain)
        Vicki Neale
        Tania Obst
        Sharon Purser
        Sarah Sutter (vice-captain)
        Karen Whelan
        Vicki Wilson
        Coach: Marg Angove

        Sheridan Abbott
        Natalie Avellino
        Jennifer Borlase (vice-captain)
        Michelle Fielke (captain)
        Robyn Gill
        Danielle Grant
        Karen Jenson
        Michelle Kelso
        Simone McKinnis
        Josie Pearce
        Cassie Mogg
        Leah Torzyn
        Coach: Pat Mickan

        ADEL CONTAX 61 def ADEL GARVILLE 58 (after extra time)

        Contax (Wilson 45/59, Obst 16/??)
        Garville (Borlase 35/45, Avellino 23/31)

        Avatar photoIan Harkin
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          Chaos over netball final
          Linda Pearce
          THE SUNDAY AGE

          ADELAIDE Contax finally claimed the major interstate prize it has sought for so long with a controversial 61-58 overtime win over hometown rival Adelaide Garville in last night’s netball Superleague grand final at the Powerhouse.

          While Garville officials believe a scoring discrepancy had robbed them of a one-goal victory, the official score sheet had scores tied at 47- 47 after regular time, and play was extended for 14 minutes.

          Garville coach Pat Mickan said the team would lodge a protest but had been told already that the result would stand.

          “We believe in our hearts in the fact that we won the game,” she said. Garville captain Michelle Fielke refused to sign the scorecard.

          Garville, the defending champion, grabbed the early overtime break and held a two-goal lead at the final change of ends, Contax having lost goal attack Tania Obst two minutes earlier with a leg injury.

          But Contax lost nothing with the substitution of regular feeder Sarah Angove who failed to score a goal but, more importantly, channeled the ball to champion import Vicki Wilson.

          Wilson’s battle with Fielke, Australia’s captain, was one of the high points of an absorbing and physical match, which ended with emotional scenes and a crowd invasion of the court.

          It has taken Wilson nearly a decade as one of the netball world’s leading shooters to finally break through for a major domestic win.

          She had to leave her home state of Queensland to do it, but was the key player in last night’s triumph.

          Despite missing the final shot for goal in regular time, Wilson scored a match-high 45 goals at 76 per cent under fierce pressure, including the last three of the match. If the missing ingredient for Contax has been a class shooter, then this has proven to be an inspired recruiting choice.

          Yet Garville was also a gallant runner-up and worthy finalist.

          Shooters Jenny Borlase (35 goals at 77 per cent) and Natalie Avellino (23 goals at 74 per cent) were an exceptional combination at the other end, while the mid-court match-ups were typically tight between these two regular and fierce foes.

          It will be a pity if such a fine and desperate exhibition of netball is soured by a scoring controversy but many in the stadium were bewildered when the scoreboard was amended five minutes into the last quarter from a 42-40 Garville lead to 41 goals each.

          Avatar photoIan Harkin
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            Netball final result is “final”
            The Age

            The result of the Adelaide Garville-Adelaide Contax Netball Superleague final will stand regardless of the outcome of yesterday’s appeal by Garville.

            The national executive director of the All Australian Netball Association, Pam Smith, said there was no way the score would change, even if Garville could prove it had been robbed of victory.

            Smith said association rules did not provide for a review of match scores and video evidence could not be considered.

            “We will certainly view the video because I would like to see for myself what happened but Contax will remain champions, whatever happens,” Smith said.

            Garville was beaten in overtime by three goals. The official score was 61-58. However, Garville believes it won by two goals. The electronic scoreboard changed from 42-40 in favor of Garville to 41-41 in the last quarter.

            Garville coach Pat Mickan watched a video of the final quarter and believes her team should have won. She said the team would consider legal action if Garville was not awarded the Prime Minister’s Cup.

            “The system is unfair and undemocratic and we have to challenge a system which allows these things to happen. We can show the AANA the video, we can count the number of goals we scored, show them the scorecard is wrong.”

            Smith said video evidence would not be considered because it “opened up a whole range of different problems”.

            “We can’t have teams looking at the videos are saying: Oh, that wasn’t a goal’ or That was a goal we didn’t get.’ The debate would never end,” she said.

            But Mickan said the battle was not over an umpire’s decision: “We would never criticise an umpire because umpiring is always subjective. You expect, when you go into a game, that the umpire will make decisions with which you don’t agree. However, we do not accept that a game should be decided on the human error of a scorekeeper.”

            Netball scores are recorded by an official scorekeeper, who is aided by a “caller” who calls out goals as they are scored. Mistakes can happen when the caller gives incorrect information, or looks away from the match for a moment and misses a goal. Similarly, the scorekeeper could record a Contax goal as a Garville goal or vice versa.

            Contax coach Margaret Angove said it would be a sad day for netball if Garville took the matter to court. “You can’t change the score now. We believe we won fairly and within the rules and that is all that matters.”

            Angove said the team would not hand victory to Garville even if video evidence proved Garville had won. “If we had been two goals down, we would have played differently. We would not consider a replay either. It’s like a bad umpiring decision: you just have to wear it.”

            You decide: The ABC will screen 60 of the 74 minutes of the controversial Garville-Contax Superleague grand final from 5pm on Saturday.

            Avatar photoIan Harkin
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              Garville was robbed of title – it’s official
              The Age

              Adelaide Garville was robbed of victory in the netball Superleague grand final last Saturday by a scorekeeper’s error. The official score was 61-58 in favor of Adelaide Contax but should have been 48-46 in favor of Garville.

              The All Australian Netball Association admitted the error yesterday.

              Executive director Pam Smith said the incorrect result would stand and Contax would keep the Prime Minister’s Cup.

              “It’s pointless trying to make amends now and we don’t have the mechanics to do it,” Smith said. We have to go by the official scorecard even if it was wrong. We will now look at ways of making sure it doesn’t happen again.”

              Smith said the mistake had been made in the third quarter. The electronic scoreboard, which changed from 42-40 in favor of Garville to 41-all in the final quarter, had been correct. The game ended with an official 47-47 draw, although the correct score was 48-46. Contax won in overtime.

              Garville coach Pat Mickan said yesterday that players were unlikely to let the matter rest because the team wanted the Prime Minister’s Cup.

              “We are still considering court action, not because we want to punish Contax but because the system is wrong and should be changed,” she said.

              “If we take it to court, we would have to prove that all the safety checks or scoring checks were not in place and I think we can easily do that since there was only one scorer, who was wrong.”

              Contax coach Margaret Angove said both teams must accept the official result or risk damaging the game of netball.

              “We played to the official score,” she said. “If we had believed we were two goals down, we would have played a different game, as Garville would have. We would have taken more risks and perhaps gone on to win.

              “We should remember that neither Garville nor Contax made a mistake. It was an error in the system.

              “What is really sad is that Contax have been robbed of the pleasure and excitement of winning a national netball final. Our players have even been abused. It would be nice if people remembered we played wonderful netball, but nobody is saying that.”

              Smith said Contax and Garville players were upset by the outcome.

              “Garville know they technically should have won and there is nothing they can do about that,” she said. “Also, Contax feel they have been robbed of victory because the scorecard has them as the official winners.”

              The ABC, which will edit the 74-minute game into a 60-minute program, will show the third and fourth quarters in full.

              Avatar photoIan Harkin
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                Amateur sport made to look amateurish
                Linda Pearce
                THE SUNDAY AGE

                WELL, well, well. So netball has made a rare visit to the world of prominent headlines and back-page notoriety this past week. It has been discussed with genuine interest by those outside its traditional, devoted core. Overheard in sporting conversations where it has rarely been raised before.

                Yet not, sadly, in praise of a superb Superleague grand final between two great rivals in Adelaide last Saturday night. And not, unfortunately, to discuss a magnificent duel between Australian captain Michelle Fielke and her champion national teammate Vicki Wilson. Or an inspiring comeback by new champion Adelaide Contax. Or any number of other highlights.

                Instead, the talk has reinforced the cuppa-and-scones reputation that all who administer the sport say they have fought so long to dispel.

                Farce. Debacle. Fiasco. Schemozzle. Call it what you will. Everyone else has.

                It has now become clear exactly what happened eight days ago, before 5000 disbelieving patrons at the Adelaide Powerhouse. During the third quarter, the official scorer and the official caller somehow combined to place a goal scored by Adelaide Garville on Adelaide Contax’s side of the sheet.

                The three-quarter-time score therefore had Garville trailing 36-37 when in fact it led 37-36, as indicated correctly on the electronic scoreboard. Immediately the scorer, a Sydney-based volunteer, set about reconciling the discrepancy. But she could not. After all, her figures added up. They just added up wrongly.

                So when an injury time was called in the last quarter, the stadium board amended Garville’s 42-40 lead to a 41-41 deadlock. And when regular time elapsed, what should have been a 48-46 win was recorded on the sole official scoresheet as 47-47. Garville protested. The fans shrieked. Extra time was played and Contax triumphed 61-58.

                All of which was bad enough, with embarrassing confirmation of what most already knew arriving at 6.20pm on Monday when All Australia Netball Association executive director Pam Smith and the ABC’s Colin Nicholson viewed the videotape and the error was identified.

                But the damage done since is impossible to quantify. Just as the lead- up to the game was dominated by trivial objections to Contax’s male cheersquad, so the aftermath has ensured that one of the great netball games in the showcase competition, sponsored for $1 million over three years, will be remembered merely, in the words of one prominent official last week, as a complete cock-up”.

                The interest of my sports-writing colleagues is usually minimal when I return from a netball event. Perhaps the first exception was the day after the 1991 world championship final, the game that did infinitely more than any other to thrust Australia’s leading female participant sport towards populist credibility. The second was last week. For the opposite reasons.

                It is missing the point to argue that at least it is being talked about. There may generally be an element of truth in that old theory, but in this case the attention has merely added to the perception that dear old netball has shot itself in the foot – again.

                So, given that the inadequate rules did not provide for prompt viewing of the videotape on Saturday night (that is likely to change) and that apparently neither do they now allow a change of result (perhaps a draw would be the fairest outcome as the Contax players claim they would have played differently had they been behind), or the crowded calendar scope for a replay, where to from here? AANA has admitted its error but dismissed Garville’s appeal and ruled the result will stand.

                Still, we now hear that the cause of netball’s problem has been addressed. A system involving three scorers and two callers will be trialled in Canberra next week. While the official scorer will still be required to double as a statistician and record the misses and penalty shots as well as the goals and centre passes, at least there will be cross-reference guides in case of a discrepancy.

                Which is all, of course, too late for Garville, whose actions continue to be directed by legal advice and whose appearance in the courts has yet to be ruled out. Even the winners have had a hollow celebration further soured last week by ridiculous public abuse.

                So the events of last Saturday and the ensuing attention have come at a significant cost. Netballers remain amateur, but their sport has been made to appear foolishly so. It is expensive publicity that all involved can ill-afford.

                Avatar photoIan Harkin
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                  Thanks to Netball Fan…

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                    I’m surprised no one from the Garville camp queried the score when it read 41-41, when it was meant to be 42-40. Or was not keeping an eye on the scoreboard a common practice back then? Is it because of this game, you always have someone keeping an eye on the score card?

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