NHT, RJRGLEANER impress at Florida Netball Classic
National Housing Trust, fresh from their dominance of the local Business House Netball competition, took that form overseas recently, as the Christopher Smart-coached team retained their title at the Florida Netball Classics in Coral Gardens, with a one goal advantage over the Legendary Squad, winning 13-12.
There was also a second place finish for the RJRGLEANER Group in the Plate Final, contested by teams finishing in the lower half of the table. They were beaten by NYSA, a team with whom they shared coach Winston Nevers.
There was more glory for the news team, as they walked away with top honours in the shooting competition.
With last year's beaten finalist, Scotiabank not competing in the tournament, it was expected to be smooth-sailing for NHT, but this was not to be, as they were severely tested by a Legendary team, which included former national players such as Oberon Pitterson, Connie Francis, Elaine Davis, Sharon Wiles, Nadine Bryan and Georgia Gordon.
In the end, it was a thrilling finish, as after leading 8-7 at half-time and going up by four at one stage in the second quarter, NHT had to stave off the late challenge of the veterans, holding out for their narrow one goal win in the end.
Earlier in the quarter-finals, they were also tested by NYSA, which included the likes of Carla Williams, a former national goal shooter and Kasey Evering, a former Sunshine Girls defender, eventually winning 14-11.
In the semis, NHT overcame a strong Upsetters team 7-6 with the likes of Sabrena Spence, Nardia Hanson and Nicole Aikens turning out for the losing team.
Coach Smart was very pleased with his team's second success in two years.
"It was a tough task and we had some great challenges all the way through, especially against the Upsetters, as their team had good all-round talent and after beating them, we thought that it was over, but the final against the Legendary team, with several former national players really pushed us. Our defence led by Vangelee Williams, Abbigail Linton and Stacy Brown really played a pivotal role in our win and it was really an awesome performance from our girls. The competition this year was well-organised," said Smart.