Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Spurs, Orchids in massive BEL clash

Published:Saturday | December 16, 2017 | 12:00 AM
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Form teams Manchester Spurs and defending champions, St Ann Orchids are set for a gigantic battle when Netball Jamaica's Berger Elite League continues this evening with a double header at Leila Robinson Courts, National Stadium Complex.

The game is set to start at 7 p.m. and will be preceded by a matchup between the Kingston Hummingbirds and Clarendon Gaters at 5:30 p.m.

Kingston got off to a hot start, winning 47-34 over the Orchids and 44-22 against St Catherine Racers. However, they were humbled 40-61 - the widest losing margin - by the Spurs on Thursday.

Anna-Kay Griffiths led the Spurs' scoring with 38 goals from 48 attempts, while Nicole Dixon, 14 of 20, and Giselle Allison, nine from 13, accounted for the other goals. Sabrina Spence, 30 from 36, and Shanice Beckford, 10 from 13, were the Hummingbirds' scorers.

"This team is awesome," said Connie Francis, coach of the Spurs, who have won all three matches.

"They've risen to all occasions. They have the belief that they can beat any team now, and I'm just going to encourage them," she continued.

The Orchids have won two of three games, including a nail-biting 41-40 clincher against St Catherine Racers in Thursday's other game. Prior to that, the Orchids had blown away Clarendon Gaters 58-34 but lost 34-47 against the Hummingbirds.

In Thursday's match, Thristina Harwood led the Orchids with 25 goals from 34 attempts, while her national counterpart, Rebekah Robinson, scored 16 from 24. Shanice Howe, 17 from 19, Kestina Sturridge, 16 from 22, and Tracy Francis, seven of 10, scored for the Racers.

As both Spurs and Racers are coming off a win, they will be confident. But Orchids, who are also coached by another former national standout, Janet Guy, are looking at adjustments that can lead to victory.

"We had a game yesterday, and we see where we need to fix certain areas of our play - mid-court - and the shooters need to build their confidence and get the balls into the hoop because goals win matches," said Guy.

"It's just to fix certain things. We still need to learn how to protect the ball and score goals. So we're looking for a competitive game as long as the adjustment comes," she analysed.

Francis is also expecting a competitive match.

"That game is going to be a tough one. We have two national defenders and they are playing extremely well, but the Orchids, if we allow them to settle, they can be very, very dangerous," she warned.