Denbigh, Holmwood champions of ISSA rural netball
New champions were crowned in rural ISSA schoolgirl netball on Friday at the Leila Robinson Courts and inside the National Indoor Sports Centre as Denbigh captured the junior title after defeating Manchester High 34-25, while it was a 43-35 win for Holmwood over defending champions Denbigh among the seniors.
After losing in the final the previous year, Manchester were hoping to make up for that result. They were very competitive for the first three quarters with their opponent as Denbigh led 9-7 after the first quarter, although Manchester went in front 17-14 at the half-time break before Denbigh went back in front 25-20 going into the final quarter.
The hot and humid conditions seemed to have taken a toll on Manchester players, forcing them to make several turnovers, as the former champions dominated to race to a convincing win in the end.
Coach Janice Walker credited endurance for her team's good play in the end. "It was very competitive for three quarters, but because of our good endurance, we were able to outlast Manchester. Thank God for the win, and we are happy to regain our title we last won in 2015," she said.
With slight drizzle forcing the senior finals to be played inside the National Indoor Sports Center, defending champions Denbigh, who were also the all-island champions, were bent on making it a double on the day, but were overcome 43-35 by a fitter Holmwood team.
It was Denbigh who took control in the early going, leading 9-8, 20-18 after the first two quarters, with Holmwood taking a slim 29-28 lead after the third quarter.
The former many-time champions took control in the final quarter, as Denbigh were guilty of many careless turnovers, while Holmwood goal defence Davienia Stephens was making several important interceptions. It was all Holmwood here as they outscored their opponent 14-7. Goal attack Shadine Bartley top-scored with 33 from 43, with goal shooter Sasha Gaye Forbes assisting with 10 from 12, as Stephens was voted MVP. For Denbigh, goal shooter Denoy Thomas led the way with 29 from 40, and goal attack Zandria Cohen with six from 7.
For winning coach Carlene Graham-Powell, it was good to be at the top once again among the seniors.
"Since 2005, we have never left without a title, and when we lost the junior title at the group stage, our girls were motivated. They stated that they were playing for the younger ones and were determined to win it for them. They were very focused all the way and we are looking forward to the all-island finals," she said.