Racers shooting for Berger Paints Elite League netball title
Christopher Smart, coach of last year's beaten finalists, St Catherine Racers, is expressing confidence in his team's chances of winning this year's Netball Jamaica/Berger Paints Elite League.
The Racers, who were beaten by champions Kingston Humming Birds in last year's final, began their campaign with a resounding 53-31 victory over the St Ann Orchids on Sunday at the Leila Robinson Courts.
Goalshooter Ladonna Lamonth led the Racers to victory with 32 goals from 42 attempts.
Lamonth, who was drafted by Racers in the off season, previously represented the UWI Pelicans in the Open League.
She got shooting support from national representative Anna-Kay Griffiths, who added 21 goals from 29 attempts.
"I think we have a reasonable chance of winning this competition," said Smart. "This is a very good team, and all things being equal, we can win this championship," he said.
Smart added: "We have made some good additions to the team, because we've brought in some youngsters who certainly give the team some energy."
The Racers took control of the match from the opening whistle, as they led 27-11 at half-time and 36-25 at the end of the third quarter.
The Orchids', who were without former national captain, Simone Forbes, proved no match for their opponents as they were outplayed in every area of the court.
National representative Shanice Beckford, with 16 goals from 18 attempts, and Gizelle Allison, 15 from 24, were the scorers for the Orchids.
Reflecting on his team's performance, Smart said: "I think it was a good victory for us. We were anticipating this sort of performance because we had retained most of the players from last season."
In the second match of the double-header, St James Sharpes and Clarendon Gaters played to an exciting 31-31 draw.
The first half was very closely contested, as both teams battled to 16-16 tie at half-time.
They fought hard in the third period, but Sharpes managed to eke out a 24-23 lead at the end of the period.
The fourth quarter proved to be the most exciting, with the teams exchanging the lead after almost every goal scored.
Simone Gordon scored all 31 goals for the Gaters, while Jodian French-Kentish netted 22 from 31 attempts, while and Marion Campbell scored nine form 14.