Sunday 19 May, 2019

Orchids, Hummingbirds favoured to win in Elite League today

The hunt for the top four spots in Netball Jamaica’s Berger Elite League continues on Tuesday with St Ann Gaters and defending champions Kingston Hummingbirds favoured for a win in a double-header at Leila Robinson Courts.

St Ann Orchids will face Clarendon Gaters in the opening match at 6:30 p.m., while the Hummingbirds will face-off against St James Sharpes at 7:45 p.m.

The Gaters and Sharpes suffered heavy losses on Saturday and will be looking for much improved performances. Either team has secured a win.

Kingston Hummingbirds won their second encounter on Saturday, following which the team had a training session to boost their preparation.

Head coach Winston Nevers noted that because they haven’t had many opportunities to practice and since they had all the players in one place, he decided to utilise the chance of working on some concentration drills.

St James Sharpes is a steady team that does not back down easily and will rely on goal shooter Kestina Sturridge, versatile Sasha Dixon and defender Kera Christie to hold them together.

The Hummingbirds though are a lot more seasoned and possess virtually a national attack with centre court player Paula Thompson, goal attack Shanice Beckford and goal shooter Sabrina Spence. With junior nationals Abbeygail Linton and Hasana Williams also on the team, this is bound to make the task very steep for St James Sharpes.

Like the Hummingbirds did after their match on Saturday night, Clarendon Gaters also had a lengthy session, but head coach Dalton Hinds noted that his message was different. Given that they were losing, and losing badly at that, he explained reinforcing the importance of training to his team and the responsibility they had in representing not only themselves, but the team well.

Hinds outlined that because they were not training, they would get tired during matches, which led to deteriorating standards through a lack of concentration. This has been evident in all but one of their previous matches, when the team had started well to lead the first quarter.

In the context of the semi-professional league, Hinds said he would make a recommendation to Netball Jamaica “that players get paid on a pro-rated basis” as it regards their participation in both training and matches. This, the Gaters coach believes, would foster a better response to training.

Goal shooter Shedieky Hamilton-Barnes has been carrying most of the burden for Clarendon Gaters, while youngters Amanda Pinkney and Latanya Wilson have taken on senior roles in the relatively new unit.

Their opponents, St Ann Orchids, are more balanced with their captain, Vangelee Williams and Simone Gordon representing a tower of strength in defence and fellow nationals Adean Thomas, Thristina Harwood and Rebekah Robinson generating plays from mid-court to the shooting arc.

The talent spread is not bad across the league but despite this, St Ann Orchids should outlast Clarendon Gaters and claim another win in this round robin, return format from which the top four will advance to the semis.

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