Tue | Apr 24, 2018

Anderson hails resilient Linton

Published:Monday | February 5, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Players and coaches of the Kingston Hummingbirds team pose with the trophy after winning the Berger Elite League title on Saturday. The Hummingbirds beat the Manchester Spurs in the final.

Kingston Hummingbirds head coach Marvette Anderson has praised defender Abbygail Linton for her excellent goalkeeping display during game two of three in their Berger Elite League netball final. Linton's performance carried the Hummingbirds to a 64-59 win against the Manchester Spurs, which saw them crowned champions at the National Arena on Saturday night.

In a game where misplaced passes were aplenty, the Hummingbirds could not turn tipped passes into a possession; and even though their shooting was not all bad, they were not hitting the mark consistently to keep the scoreline competitive.

Something had to give. With time running out - barely seven minutes on the clock - Anderson pulled star defender Linton from the action and replaced her with Keila Henry. Within seconds, the Spurs made easy passage for two easy shots and threatened to lengthen their runaway performance.

Now it was time for Plan C. Anderson put Linton back on court and the defender immediately plucked two interceptions out of the air. From six points down with less than five minutes on the clock, the Hummingbirds surged to within two as their shooters converted the turnovers and their own centre passes. This was the catalyst for a dramatic comeback.

"The attack was awesome from beginning, but when I brought back in goalkeeper Abbygail Linton, I think she started doing what we were asking her to do all along, and she really redeemed herself. I'm really proud of her," said Anderson.

Kingston Hummingbirds thus claimed their second hold on the title, following their success in the competition's inaugural year, 2014, when Sylvester Campbell was head coach.

After the game, both coaches had gracious words for the opponent.

"I have to give Kingston their credit. They were shooting lighter," said coach Connie Francis, who also commended her Spurs outfit.

"I'm proud of my team for making it to the final. When this team was assembled, we weren't given a chance. The girls gave themselves a chance, so kudos to them."

Anderson said: "Our opponents gave us a run for our money. Hats off to them. They have nothing to feel bad about, that's how the game goes."