Sat | Jan 25, 2020

Holmwood confident ahead of All-Island final

Published:Tuesday | December 10, 2019 | 12:27 AMRaymond Graham/Gleaner Writer
Holmwood Technical High School, senior champions of the ISSA Rural Schoolgirls Netball Competition.
Holmwood Technical High School, senior champions of the ISSA Rural Schoolgirls Netball Competition.

Holmwood Technical High School head coach Carline Graham Powell is confident ahead of tomorrow’s senior netball clash with Excelsior High School in the ISSA All-Island Schoolgirl final starting at 2:30 p.m. at Manchester High School. Denbigh and Gaynsted will meet in the junior finals at 1:30 p.m.

Holmwood, who got by defending champions Denbigh by five goals to win their 12th Rural title a week ago at the same venue, will be seeking their 10th All-Island title, with their last success coming in 2015. Tomorrow’s clash will be a repeat of the 2017 final at the same venue where Holmwood were the favourite but were upstaged by the Christopher Smart-coached Excelsior team.

Holmwood will welcome back several members of that losing team, including goal shooter Shadine Bartley, wing attack Ryoka James, and captain and rural final MVP, goal attack Aaliah Lue.

“Excelsior, we are coming for revenge after our loss two years ago. Our girls are ready, and we will not lose this time around,” Graham Powell said confidently.

After a hard-fought win over first time finalists Norman Manley to win the urban title, Excelsior are after their third title and will be hoping for their second success in three years. Coach Smart is happy to be in another All-Island final.

“Getting back to the final means a lot to us as it means we are one of two top teams in the island,” he said. “The real thing for us is that we are eligible to participate in the Caribbean championships, the AFNA High school tournament which we won in 2018, and my girls are ready for the challenge.”

Smart will be relying on centre Tasane Salmon, goal shooter Rasheda Robinson, goal defence Kamia Daley, and wing attack Rayona Myers.

In the junior encounter, it will be a rematch of last year’s final, where Gaynstead got by Denbigh.

Both teams had contrasting wins in their respective finals as Denbigh blew away first-time finalists Glenmuir 24-12 to win the rural title while Gaynstead edged St Hugh’s 27-26 for the Urban title.