Mon | Dec 11, 2017

XLCR, Queens in schoolgirl netball grudge match

Published:Monday | November 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Gaynstead High goal shooter Amanda Pinkey (second right) sinks another goal as teammate Asia Brooks looks on during their ISSA Urban Senior Schoolgirl Netball second round match against Immaculate Conception High at the Leila Robinson Courts earlier this month.
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The finalists for this Friday's ISSA Schoolgirl Netball Competition will be decided tomorrow at the G.C. Foster College, as the urban and rural semi-finals of the junior and senior matches are on, starting at 9 a.m.

This is the first time in the history of the competition that both the rural and urban semi-finals will be played at the same venue, simultaneously, and fans are in store for some exciting and epic battles as the best schoolgirls in the country will be on show.

Undoubtedly, most eyes will be on the urban senior clash between defending champions Excelsior High School and many-times champions The Queen's School. This will be a grudge match, as the Marvette Anderson-coached Queen's team, who lost their best player, national senior representative Hasana Williams, to Excelsior at the start of the season, will want to use this as a big motivation for them, and the girls will all be pumped up for the occasion.

Despite not having their inspirational coach on the bench in their top-of-table Group 1 clash with a strong Gaynstead team a week ago, they showed guts and determination with an excellent fourth quarter to play to a 32-32 tie, remaining unbeaten this season. A repeat performance could see them upstaging the defending champions.

 

SMOOTH SAILING

 

It has been smooth sailing all season for the Christopher Smart-coached Excelsior team after dispatching their rivals with ease to top Group 2.

With the experience of goal shooter Williams along with goal attack Racoya Douglas and goalkeeper Natassia Duncan, they could be a bit too tough for the former champions.

Despite a small hitch in their final group match against Queen's, last year's beaten finalist Gaynstead look set to get the better of St Catherine High in their semi-final. The Dalton Hinds-coached Gaynstead team has looked awesome all season and is set to make it back-to-back finals. They should get the better of the Phyllis Thompson-coached team, despite the St Catherine team being unbeaten all season.

Although they lost several of last year's top players from their winning team, defending rural and all-island senior champions Denbigh High have been having a fantastic season and will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run of two years when they oppose Anchovy High. Following their crushing 40-7 quarter-final win over St Thomas Technical on Friday at Manchester High, it should be another easy win for Denbigh as they stay on course for another title.

It could go any way in the other semi-final between many-time champions Holmwood Technical and Manchester High. After a hiccup last year, Holmwood seemed to be back on track and have dominated all their rivals this season. They had a smashing 48-11 win over Albert Town in their quarter final and are bent on going all the way.

After a hard-fought, 36-33 quarter-final win over Dinthill Technical, Manchester will have to show big improvement if they are to get by Holmwood, but with a final berth up for grabs, this could be big motivation for them.

- R.G.

 

Fixtures

 

URBAN

Seniors

- Excelsior vs Queen's

- Gaynstead vs St Catherine

Juniors

- Gaynstead vs St Hugh's

- St Catherine vs Norman Manley

RURAL

Seniors

- Denbigh vs Anchovy

- Holmwood vs Manchester High

Juniors

- Manchester High vs Glenmuir

- Denbigh vs May Day