Thursday, April 18, 2024

Blown away: St Barnabas stop Blackbirds


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A teasing third quarter followed by a blow-out fourth saw defending champions Pine Hill St Barnabas silencing UWI Blackbirds 43-35 in an exciting knockout semi-final clash at the Netball Stadium Wednesday night.
After trailing 13-8 and 23-17 in the first two quarters, the Blackbirds, buoyed by their large fan support in the stands, made their customary second-half surge to lock the scores at 29, after trailing 22-27.  However, the experience and class of St Barnabas’ defence, centre court and offence set up a seven-goal run to put the contest out of reach.
Barbados’ six-footer goalshooter Laurel Browne led St Barnabas with 30 goals from 32 attempts, while the support of the talented Sheniqua Thomas was critical as her long range shooting at goal attack confounded the Blackbirds, with 18 goals from 24 shots.
Young Shonica Wharton proved accurate once again for the Blackbirds with 24 goals from 29 shots while battling a fierce Shonette Bruce and a physical Jeneice Clarke. Wharton had to deal with a hard collision into the net-pole in the third quarter and was taken off a few minutes later when she landed on the court with Bruce toppling on top of her.
Ironically, Kittitian Mechelle Liburd lifted her game and began hitting some gems at goal attack with Barbados junior captain Rieah Holder returning as the goalshooter to replace Wharton. Liburd scored seven of nine while Holder added four of seven.
The mid court play of Clarke, Holder, wing attack Samantha Browne, centre Cherise Seale, wing defence Markayla Yearwood and new recruit Nneka Archer, who replaced Yearwood in the third quarter, produced some awesome netball for St Barnabas. Similarly, Blackbirds’ Holder, the fleet Damisha Croney, centre Teresa Howell, Liburd and wing defence Jehlesal Brathwaite kept the game in balance.
The aggression of Blackbirds’ Shanice Rock at goal defence and Shanice Wharton as goal keeper exerted pressure on Browne which was released by the movements and long shots from Thomas.
With the scores locked 29-29 at the start of the fourth quarter, the scores advanced to 30 – all before St Barnabas accelerated to 36-30 forcing the Blackbirds to call a time out.
An immediate steal by Thomas and a shot from Browne moved St Barnabas to 37 before Wharton got the Blackbirds flying again.
However, while Bruce guarded her goal with vicious zeal, at the other end Thomas and Browne outplayed their defenders to put the match out of reach of the Blackbirds and to advance to next Wednesday’s final which will be against either last year’s losing finalists Guardian General Pride of Villa or the Wolverines.
Results of other knockout games played on Wednesday:
Intermediate Knockout 1
UWI Blackbirds defeated Barbados Lumber Company UAC 35-24
C.O. Williams Rangers defeated Phoenix Protection Service 32-23
Shottas United defeated Brydens Anchor 33-13
Intermediate Knockout 2
Pine Hill St Barnabas defeated Shottas United 29-16
Structural Systems Silver Raiders defeated Pride of Villa 29-14


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