Holmwood, Denbigh in double netball showdown
It will be a Denbigh/Holmwood double showdown in next Wednesday's finals of the ISSA Rural netball competition, following exciting contests in the senior and junior semi-finals at GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport on Tuesday.
In junior action, Denbigh, the defending champions and all-island queens, got the better of Porus 23-17 in their contest, while Holmwood got by Manchester High 22-18 in their encounter. Defending senior champions Holmwood proved too good for Glenmuir, after a 49-36 win, while Denbigh did likewise, out-powering St Thomas Technical 44-28.
The first match of the day, which pitted Denbigh against Porus, saw a very competitive first quarter, with Denbigh leading 8-6 at the first break. However, led by goal-shooter Moriann Smith and goal-attack Tawana Coleman, the champions jumped to a 14-9 lead before going up 20-14 after the third quarter. The final quarter saw both teams scoring three goals apiece as Denbigh came out with a six goals advantage.
Winning coach Janice Walker was pleased that her team was in another final and is eager to defend their title.
"We have been going into the finals for the past six years and today's (Tuesday's) game was a good one for us. We started poorly but the girls picked up in the middle and although the last quarter was average, they pulled through. It's a young team as most of the players are from the Under 14 squad and we are hoping to continue our winning ways in the final," Walker said.
After winning their last junior title in 2016, Holmwood, who were beaten by Manchester High in the quarter-finals last year, avenged that defeat with a hard-fought victory over their neighbours. Manchester High, last year's beaten finalists, took a 4-2 lead at the end of the first quarter and maintained their lead after the second period by one goal with the score being 8-7.
It was a ding-dong battle in the third quarter with the scores being level on three occasions before Holmwood found a new gear in the latter stage to lead 15-12 after three quarters. With a big lead halfway in the final quarter, Holmwood looked set to pull away for an easy win but Manchester rallied well and came back within two goals (20-18), but careless turnovers allowed Holmwood to regain control.
Coach Carlene Graham Powell was happy to progress.
"We came expecting a good match and we got it and I am glad for the pressure, as this will definitely help the team going into the final against Denbigh," said Graham Powell.
Both games in the senior semi-finals where one-sided resulting in a repeat of last year's final.
Denbigh were too good for St Thomas Technical, despite a gallant effort from the eastern team. Denbigh had quarterly scores of 12-7, 25-13, 35-20 and 44-28 to advance to their fourth final in a row.
After taking a healthy 14-4 first quarter lead over Glenmuir, the experienced Holmwood proved too strong for their opponents, as they romped to 44-28 win took book their spot in the championship match.