The Rising Stars rose to the occasion last Thursday.
In a clash of stars on and off the court the Rising Stars would defeat favourites All-Stars 20-17.
Both squads play in the Cayman Islands Netball Association Mixed League.
The netball courts at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex were the site of the epic game from 6:30pm.
A crowd of some 20 people came out to watch the action. Among them were sports personalities Rupert Whittaker, Ovaine Monteith and Andrew and Courtney Wisdom.
Rising Stars battled hard through all four quarters of the contest, challenging for every loose ball and making tight passes.
Meanwhile All-Stars, who came into the game undefeated at 2-0, did their best to work the ball around the court.
From the first quarter of play Coach Lyneth Monteith could be heard encouraging her troops to have good ball control and play tight on defense.
Rising Stars did their best to counter Monteith’s scheme through aggressive defensive play from some of their young male players.
Goal Defense players David Taylor and Deandre Simpson were a thorn in the All-Stars’ side, often thwarting shots at the net.
Their play caused All-Stars to have an unusually slim lead heading into the fourth quarter.
But the All-Stars were not dismayed and seemed intent to put the game away. One of the players that attacked the net was Eckerd McField.
McField, known more for his exploits off the netball court than on it, was a force for the squad.
The Goal Shooter went hard to the hole and often put himself in a good position to score.
But Rising Stars, led by the likes of Goal Shooter Colin Anglin and Goal Keeper Samuel O’Garro, rallied back. Their passing and defensive efforts would keep All-Stars off-balance and the squad never got into their comfort zone.
The 15 minutes allocated for the quarter would go by fast for both squads as the teams had many tense exchanges.
The crew of umpires, lead by Janet Harris, was constantly on its toes. Harris could be seen sprinting from one end of the court to the other, ensuring they caught every infraction and structure violation the teams made.
Eventually the match would reach its hour limit and the umpires would blow their final whistles.
The small crowd of die-hard Rising Stars supporters that had gathered for the match erupted in joy.
The mob ran onto the court and hugged the team, appreciative of the upset over a squad many feel have a legitimate shot to win the championship.
The result is that both squads are now even in the standings with identical records of 2-1.
In the other match of the night First Caribbean continued to brandish their formidable offense with a 33-10 beating of Unity.
First Caribbean was led on offense by tall, athletic big man Kevin Maxwell.
The Maples and Calder flag football star was literally head and shoulders above the Unity defense.
Maxwell’s basketball background with the Esso Blazers also served him well as he often put himself in good spots to score.
To Unity’s credit, they never stopped working. They tried hard on the offensive end and did their best to disrupt passes intended for Maxwell.
Like the All-Stars-Rising Stars game, the umpires would put their whistles under heavy use.
Molly-Ann Moore patrolled the sidelines like a hawk and called each team for a variety of infractions.
As of this writing, the status of Saturday’s matches was unclear due to the current inclement weather affecting Cayman.
The next set of games is slated to happen tomorrow night and on Saturday.
Thursday is expected to see Rawlinson and Hunter tangle with Ogiers while Unity battles Roma.
Saturday meanwhile is expected to see All-Stars take on CITI while First Caribbean faces off against Rising Stars.
Rising Stars player Colin Anglin feels the league thus far has been highly competitive. He says it’s a little different from other sports but very fun.
‘I really like the league. I have a lot of fun. It’s very competitive and I like the integration with the women. It’s interesting to be in a sport where men are in the minority.
‘Netball has a lot more rules than other sports. There is not as much freedom in it as say basketball and that can be very challenging.
‘But that forces you to have heightened concentration and to work with your team-mates to succeed.’