Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Hummingbirds delight, Orchids also win in BEL opener

Published:Saturday | November 12, 2016 | 11:00 AMRaymond Graham

THE 2016 Berger Elite League (BEL) netball competition got off to an interesting start inside the National Indoor Sport Centre on Thursday night as St Ann Orchids and former champions Kingston Hummingbirds got off to winning starts.

The Orchids got the better of the Under-21 Shiners 63-55, while the Hummingbirds were impressive 47-29 winners over defending champions Clarendon Gators 47-29.

Goal shooter Kera Christie was in good form as the Hummingbirds, the 2014 champions, rushed to a quick 5-0 lead inside three minutes, a lead that set the tone to a dominant first-quarter display by the fitter, quicker outfit.

Despite a good defensive display by captain Kasey Evering, the Gators struggled to control their turnover rate and failed to make the most of their offensive opportunities, with front pair Taniel Roberts and Marcella Thompson finding things particularly tough.

While they struggled, Christie and goal attack Shinel Riley thrived, helped by positive play from mid-court led by wing attack Kerry-Ann Brown and centre Tracy Robinson as the Hummingbirds pushed to a 25-13 half-time lead.

For the next two quarters it was the same story, as Hummingbirds continued to dominate the game as both Stacey-Ann Facey at goal defence and goalkeeper Shameera Sterling proved too good for the Gators' offence.

Christie scored 23 from her 28 attempts with Riley sinking 22 from 31 for the Hummingbirds, while Roberts had 12 from 17 and Thompson eight from 13 for the losing team.

Coach Anderson was very pleased with her team's winning start.

"I am elated with the win and I am very proud of the ladies. This is our first game and we didn't have enough time to practise and get together as a team, but I think they performed well and what we saw tonight was a team competing for this year's championships ... we want to win the title this year," said Anderson.

Despite the loss, coach of the defending champions, Dalton Hinds, was not too perturbed.

"Congratulations to the Kingston Hummingbirds. We haven't played together as a team before and this was the first time they were actually playing together. We are very confident that we can retain the title and we are taking one game at a time," said Hinds.

In the opening game, former national player Simone Forbes, who has not played competitive netball for some three years- showed that she has not lost her zip as she brought back memories of former years with some acrobatic and brilliant plays.

Today's matches

4 p.m. St. James Sharpes vs St. Catherine Racers

5:30 p.m: Under-21 Suns vs Manchester Spurs

7 p.m: Under-21 Shiners vs Kingston Hummingbirds