Howard Campbell, Gleaner Writer
THOUGH THEY were one of the favourites to win the Super League netball competition, survival - not winning an elusive title - was priority for members of the Tivoli 'A' team late last month.
Yet, merely two weeks after the security forces and gunmen clashed in Tivoli Gardens, the community's 'A' team won local netball's most prestigious title with Monday's 44-40 win over arch-rivals Jamalco. That match was Tivoli's second win of the three-tie final at the National Indoor Sports Centre.
They won the first match on Saturday 42-40.
It was the first time in 12 years that Tivoli 'A' were winning the competition. For coach Sylvester Campbell, the victory is even more special considering the bloody conflict that rocked Tivoli on Labour Day and beyond.
"This shows that it's not all bad in Tivoli," said Campbell, who has been involved with netball in west Kingston for the past 17 years.
Kasey Evering, one of the heroines of Monday's match, with 10 goals from 13 attempts, agreed.
"It's really good for the community. This time, when people see something about Tivoli in the paper, it won't be bad," she told The Gleaner.
The security forces moved into west Kingston on May 24, a day after Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced a state of emergency for Kingston and St Andrew. The lawmen were looking for west Kingston enforcer Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who is wanted for extradition to the United States, where he faces charges of arms and drug trafficking.
Veterans Cleopatra Grant and Nicola Peart, survivors of the Tivoli 'A' team that won the 1998 Super League title, live in Tivoli Gardens. They were in the community during the May conflict, which resulted in the deaths of more than 70 civilians.
Hostilities prevented the Tivoli 'A' from training for two weeks at their Darling Street court, but Campbell said that when practice resumed, the desire to break the Super League drought was intense.
"There was a lot of graphic details and trauma but we knew we had come too far to fail," he said.
The 6'1" Evering is from the Red Hills Road area of St Andrew. She joined the Tivoli programme nine years ago after leaving Seneca 'A'.
"I always liked the way Tivoli played. I knew if I left Seneca, that's the team I wanted to play for," she said.