Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Race for top four intensifies in Berger Elite League

Published:Thursday | January 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM
St Ann Orchids goalshooter Simone Gordon.

St Catherine Racers secured a crucial victory over St James Sharpes, winning 48-38, to move into a clear fourth as the race for a top-four spot intensified in Netball Jamaica's Berger Elite League on Tuesday night at Leila Robinson Courts, National Stadium complex.

Both teams entered the fifth round contest tied on three points after winning one game apiece. However, the Racers' second win has pushed them to six points in the six-team race that guarantees the top four a spot in the play-offs.

Tracy-Ann Francis led the Racers with 36 goals from 42 attempts.

The Sharpes, who were playing their third match, shot very well, but had difficulty getting the ball to their shooters. Simone Forbes, the former national shooter, was perfect with 18 goals from 18 tries, while her backup support from Jodi-Ann French-Kentish, 16 goals from 19 tries and Deneen Taylor, four from six, weren't bad either.

In the feature match, defending champions St Ann Orchids further strengthened their chances of making the play-offs with a 37-31 win over Clarendon Gaters.

With their third win, the Orchids advanced to nine points from five games, while the Gaters flapped yet again to suffer their fifth consecutive defeat, as they remain the only team without a win in this season's championship.

SWITCHED SHOOTING COMBINATION

Orchids' coach Janet Guy switched her shooting combination for most of the game from Thristina Harwood and Rebekah Robinson, with Simone Gordon playing as the main shooter. Gordon showed her capabilities with a game-high 26 goals from 35 tries, while Harwood, with six goals from 10 attempts and Robinson, five from eight, contributed the other goals.

For the Clarendon Gaters, Shedeiky Hamilton-Barnes was their top shooter, scoring 22 goals from 27 tries.

The competition continues today with red-hot Manchester Spurs and Kingston Hummingbirds, the joint leaders, on court.

Connie Francis-coached Spurs, who won all four previous matches to score 12 points, will face St. Catherine Racers in the opening game at 6 p.m. The Spurs had won the first round contest 41-37.

For the feature encounter, set to begin at 7:30 p.m., the Marvette Anderson-coached Kingston Hummingbirds will face St. James Sharpes. The Hummingbirds also have 12 points, but have played one more match than the Spurs.