Monday, April 15, 2024

In winners’ row


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Defending champions C.O. Williams Rangers and new knockout queens Pine Hill St Barnabas moved to 2-0 records with easy wins when the Barbados Netball Association’s Division 1 league continued at the Netball Stadium on Friday night.
Rangers’ cruised past the youthful Phoenix Gems 41-25 in a result that was expected. But St Barnabas’ 51-35 blowout of Pride of Villa proved a disappointment for the large turnout of fans who were looking for a tight game. 
The fiery hot Laurel Browne scorched 41 goals from 45 attempts for the Pine side.
With national player Faye Sealy, the versatile Kamillah Burke and later Makeba Clarke not being able to control Browne in the shooting circle, Villa gambled and lost by switching their most productive shooter, Barbados captain Latonia Blackman, to goal defence in the third quarter. 
Burke was placed on the bench with Nadia Blackman taking up the goal attack position.
However, while Browne and Shaniqua Thomas, who scored ten of 19 at goal attack, continued to burn Villa, it was the scholastic mid-court lessons from Julie Phillips which made a mockery of Villa’s defence. 
In spite of receiving some physical challenges outside of the shooting circle, Phillips repeatedly showed her class with deceptive and pinpoint passes to Browne and Thomas, who merely had to sink their shots.
An under the weather Shonnette Bruce saw veteran Jackie Browne-McConney alternating with Bruce at goal defence. Villa took those opportunities to try to match their opponents but Kimberley Brathwaite’s 19 goals from 31 attempts and Nadia Blackman’s six of 11 were not as telling as her sister’s Latonia Blackman’s ten of 12.
Unfortunately, Latonia was busy at the other end trying to control Browne and Thomas as St Barnabas notched up their second win while Villa dropped to 1-1.
A superior scoring effort from the affable Shonica Wharton, who hit 19 goals from 23 attempts, could not save the Gems from their second successive loss as the Rangers galloped to their second win. 
Gems used all of their players except for the imposing Chemyne Alleyne. However, while Wharton proved productive, the combined stints at goal attack by Tonisha Rock-Yaw, Nekela Jordan and Shannon Hackett earned just six goals from 12 attempts.
On the other hand, the tall Vanessa Reid-Cox came off of the bench to replace the experienced Olivia Walcott in the second quarter for the former to hit 26 goals from 31 attempts. 
Walcott had scored seven of ten while goal attack Shakeena Rock attempted 18 shots, scoring just eight.
However, the better mid court from Rangers and a lack of support in the shooting circle for Alleyne saw the Gems outplayed and outscored by the more experienced Rangers.


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