Thursday, April 25, 2024

Firebirds scorch Villa

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Spooners Hill Firebirds blazed to their third consecutive victory when the Barbados Netball Association’s Division 1 competition continued at the Netball Stadium on Friday.

Former Barbados ace shooter Lydia Bishop led the way with 31 goals from 41 attempts, inspiring understudy Kerry-Ann Brathwaite to shoot 20 to 26 to upend the higher-rated Guardian Pride of Villa 51-47.

With Under-16 Caribbean Barbados MVP Acacia Small out with injury, Firebirds showed their determination to win by starting Bishop from the first quarter, instead of reserving her for the second half as in previous games.

In a see-sawing drama, Firebirds surged from 10-13, 21-23 and 33-33 to take the battle.

They had previously defeated Wolverines and Goodride.

Pride of Villa’s Barbados player Latonia Blackman led all scorers with 34 of 38 in a new-look team and had appeared to be dousing the Firebirds in the earlier exchanges.

With Shakeena Rock over from C.O. Williams Rangers linking forces with former Division 4 Vauxhall’s Delicia Murrell and Christ Church Foundation’s Chante Moore, Villa held the upper hand in the early quarters.

Blackman, playing the role of goal shooter, put on a tutorial which was not wasted on Firebirds’ young, tough defender Diamond Hollingsworth, who sparkled in the final two quarters to help turn the tide against Villa. 

In the key fourth quarter, with Rock running hot and cold – she score a modest 13 of 27 at goal attack –Blackman swapped positions with the shorter player. Villa moved a previously impressive Moore to goal defence and then centre, inserting Nadia Blackman at goal defence to try to help the struggling Kamillah Burke.

Villa lost their momentum from the second quarter when they squandered a seven-point (22-15) advantage as Bishop and Brathwaite scored five unanswered goals, lifting the Firebirds to 20-22 before ending the quarter 23-21.

The pivotal third quarter saw Firebirds taking their first lead at 24-23 before Blackman piloted Villa to another advantage at 36-31.

However, with Firebirds taking the lead again at 42-41 after the scores had been locked from 36 to 40, Villa were consumed by the brilliance of Hollingsworth in defence and Bishop and Brathwaite in the shooting circle.

With speculation that double crown queens UWI Blackbirds will not be leaving their nest to defend their league title, Firebirds will next target Pine Hill St Barnabas and Rangers in their quest for the championship. (KB)

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