Champs Jamaica wary of hosts Barbados
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC):
Jamaica are already eyeing hosts Barbados as their main challenge, after the early exchanges in the Caribbean Netball Association (CNA) Jean Pierre Under-16 tournament.
Jamaica crushed Dominica 45-7 in their opening match on Sunday, then trounced Grenada 40-13 in their second match last night. Trudianne Pennant (19 goals from 22 tries) and captain Vanessa Jones (12/14) led the scoring.
Barbados, in the meantime, picked up wins in their opening matches to install themselves as one of the early front-runners.
After rushing to a 12-0 lead at the end of the first quarter in their opening game on Sunday, Jamaica cruised through the remainder of the game to run out easy winners and send a stern warning to their rivals in the tournament, which started Saturday at the same venue.
Trudiane Pennant led the way for the dominant Jamaicans with 18 from 25 attempts, while Sade Ffrench scored 11 from 12 attempts in support. Chiquana Reid chipped in with eight from 10 attempts.
For the hapless Dominicans, Sara Baptiste got six of 14.
Cora Ricketts, manager of the Young Sunshine Girls, said while she had not yet seen all the teams she was keeping her eyes on the hosts.
"In our heads, Barbados came second last year so I think it would be Barbados," Ricketts said.
Jamaica, perennial regional powerhouses, are defending champions after winning the title before their home crowd last year.
Speaking after their domination of Dominica on Sunday, Ricketts said her side looked in good shape.
"We used the opportunity to rotate the players, using the bench as well," she said. "We worked on combinations according to the opponents we are playing."
Barbados, too, have been a force to reckon with, already with victories over Grenada and St Lucia on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
They are scheduled to lock horns with the Jamaicans in the final match of the tournament, scheduled for April 17.
St Lucia, meanwhile, rebounded from their 13-39 loss to Barbados Sunday to further deflate Dominica, defeating them 32-18 in a res-cheduled match yesterday.
Coach Shem Maxwell said St Lucia were looking to improve on last year's fourth placed finish.
"Our aim is to come up at least one notch. Last year we came fourth, so this year we want first, second or third so we can take a trophy back to St Lucia," Maxwell said.
She conceded that their defence needed a few tweaks.
"Normally, we get lost when it comes to the defensive side of the game and we will have to improve on this in the remaining matches," Maxwell noted.