Sat | Jun 23, 2018

Hummingbirds look to ease past Sharpes in Elite League

Published:Saturday | January 6, 2018 | 12:00 AM
St James Sharpes’ Jodi-Ann Ffrench.
Paula Thompson of Kingston Hummingbirds.
1
2

Kingston Hummingbirds will be looking to shake off the rust and pick up on the winning trail when they engage St James Sharpes at 6 p.m., as Netball Jamaica's Berger Elite League resumes after the Christmas break with a lone fixture today at Leila Robinson Courts, National Stadium Complex.

The Hummingbirds won their last game ahead of the holiday break 50-34 against Clarendon Gaters to register their third victory of the season, having also beaten defending champions St. Ann Orchids (47-34) and St. Catherine Racers (44-42) in earlier matches.

Those wins have placed the Hummingbirds second in the six-team championship on nine points, three behind Manchester Spurs, who inflicted their only loss (40-61).

St James Sharpes are second-from-bottom with three points after playing only two matches. They have won once, beating the Clarendon Gaters (48-47). However, they lost their other game, 46-59 to the high-flying Manchester Spurs.

Both teams have good squads and Hummingbirds' coach, Marvette Anderson, is looking for a similar result to their last encounter.

"We just have to pick up from where we left off. You're only as good as your last game," she said.

"Coming off a break, we will have a little rust, but nonetheless, I expect the ladies to give a good account. I think the ladies are aware that it's a professional league and some would have done some work on their own during the break."

National shooter Shanice Beckford, Sabrina Spence, Hasana Williams and centre Paula Thompson number among the key players who will lead the Kingston team's charge.

OPPONENTS' STRENGTH

They will battle against the experience of competition-smart former nationals Simone French and Kasey Evering, who have Jamaica players Jodi-Ann French and Deneen Taylor to provide strong backing.

Both coaches recognise the strength of their opponents.

Jennifer Brown, coach of St James Sharpes, said: "One thing we know is the Hummingbirds are very exciting and talented ... . I think they have the best combination of shooters.

"We know that the Hummingbirds have been having a great run. We're hoping to compete and compete well. If we turn up, we know it will be interesting," added Brown.

Anderson said her team is not underrating the Sharpes.

"It's not a team that you can count out, they have good players," she observed. "Every team is in the league to win. I'm not going to take them lightly ... you just have to be prepared to play and play hard."

Confident in their offensive output, Brown believes maintaining that thrust and strong all-round play will be key.

"The last game we had our shooters did a fairly good job. Once we can get the ball to the shooters we should be in the thick of things and be there at the end," Brown analysed.