Stars rise just past Ogiers

Rising Stars struggled to play like a championship team last Thursday.

In a heavily-contested affair Rising Stars would just slip by Ogiers 22-20.

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 40 excited onlookers came out to watch the action. Most were heard speculating on the chances for an upset by the 1-3 Ogiers side.

The first half would show that their talk was well-founded. Ogiers came out hot in the first half scoring five points while keeping the Rising Stars offense to just two.

Much of that defensive stance came from starting Goal-Keeper Damian McField and Goal Defense player Rochelle Webb.

McField’s large frame was an advantage as he pushed around the smaller and lighter attacking players out of position.

Delroy Irving would come on to rest McField in the second quarter and that’s when RS found their rhythm.

Deandre Simpson’s fast, accurate passes got attacking duo Owen Powis and Melissa Rankine in good spots to shoot.

The result is that RS scored seven points in the second quarter and took a slim 9-8 lead going into the half-time break.

During the break both teams would get some lengthy pep talks from their respective captains.

For Ogiers Mariskca Blackman, who is also the team’s Wing Defender, preached passing and took time to set-up on offense. Blackman also assured the team that they were in a good position to get the victory.

Meanwhile Tricia Skyers-Palacio would stress aggressiveness on both sides of the court. She urged the players to stay focused, hustle for position and play with passion.

The second half saw a re-energized RS team. Samuel O’Garro in particular did well, playing Goal-Keeper and Goal Shooter, flashing his jaw-dropping leaping ability.

O’Garro could be seen making acrobatic shots and sky in front of the net to swat away many shots.

O’Garro’s play, with help from wingers Racquel Rankine and Kim Litrico, propelled RS to 13 points in the second half.

However the trio of winger Kim Smith plus attacking players Letanya Thompson and Mark Wellon did not give up. Their determination to score kept Ogiers in it the whole way.

Ultimately the game boiled down to who controlled the ball the most. The likes of Keisha Anglin, Delroy and Shawn Myles helped give RS the edge in time of possession and a hard-fought victory.

With the win RS are keeping pace with the league frontrunners at 3-1. Meanwhile Ogiers are struggling at 1-4.

In the other match of the night Roma continued their march towards a league title with an impressive win over Rawlinson and Hunter by a score of 28-10.

Attacking players Shawn Smith and Stacey-Ann Dehaney would be lightning rods for the Roma offense. They hustled hard and always seemed to get off a good shot.

However the player of the game was undoubtedly Centre Michael Dehaney. He was all over the court and got his hands on just about every pass for and against his team.

Dehaney’s speed and athleticism proved Roma are a deep side that can excel without human highlight reel Clifton Ricketts.

For R&H the players had another game where they hustled hard but came up just short of a win.

Dan Bond, Catherine Anderson and Matt Green were a hard-working group that tried to dictate Roma’s focus on defense.

However Roma wingers Sudan Powell and Paula Hughes made passing a chore with defenders Carrie Barnett and especially Goal-Keeper Damion Claire hampering just about every shot.

The defense of R&H is still a work in progress as defenders Tatiana Dell and Michael Anderson have yet to work out a productive and effective game plan.

Wingers Katie Ebanks and Kassia Webb showed great hustle but couldn’t disrupt passes enough to change the game.

With the win Roma are now 5-0 and preparing for a showdown with fellow undefeated team First Caribbean. Meanwhile R&H are now an abysmal 1-5.

The result from Saturday’s games will be published at a later date.

The next set of games is slated to happen this coming Thursday.

One of the league’s two unbeaten teams will get their first loss when First Caribbean and Roma square off. In the other game Rising Stars will try to keep their momentum going against Citi.

Also of note are the games which were scheduled for 11 October were rained out and have been postponed for a later date in the season.

It will be interesting to see how much of an impact those games will have on the final standings.

See this week’s Compass for the results of all of the games.