Denbigh, Gaynstead set for all-island netball battle
The 2018 schoolgirl netball season will come to a close today at the Leila Robinson Courts, as rural champions Denbigh High school will come face-to-face with urban champions Gaynstead High in the ISSA All-Island finals to prove which teams are the best in the country at this level.
In the junior finals at 3 p.m. both schools will clash, before the seniors take the court at 4 p.m.
Gaynstead's juniors booked their place in today's final, after getting by Norman Manley 29-27 for the urban title, while Denbigh squeezed past Holmwood 18-17 to take the rural junior title and book their spot. Gaynstead's seniors turned back St Catherine High 33-27 to win the senior urban title, while Denbigh overcame Holmwood 40-26 to capture the rural crown.
A new champion will be crowned among the seniors as defending champions Excelsior were beaten in the semi-finals of the urban competition by St Catherine High. Meanwhile, Denbigh will be hoping to capture a second consecutive junior title.
Both coaches were extremely confident ahead of today's fixtures, with Denbigh's Christine Bartley hoping her girls can secure their second double at this stage, after doing so in 2003.
"The coaching staff and the girls are pretty confident going into today's finals. So far, they have achieved one objective by winning the rural titles and will go for the other by taking the All-Island titles. Gaynstead have two very good teams, and despite playing at the National Stadium, which is home for them, they will be very confident and they will have a big crowd to cheer them on, but we will also be bringing a lot of spectators and there are many past students from Denbigh who attend various tertiary institutions in Kingston, who will be present," said Bartley.
After winning the All-Island junior title two years ago, Gaynstead will be hoping to go all the way once again and coach Dalton Hinds has high expectations of his teams.
"Our expectation is to win both titles and I have said to the girls not to be overconfident. I have seen Denbigh's teams this season and they have very strong teams, especially in attack, but we have the players to nullify these attacks," said Hinds."We want to win both titles, but a bigger dream for us is to win the senior title as we have never won that, and I expect the girls to give it their all."