The stars were shining bright on Saturday night.
Not only was there a break in the weather to squeeze in a netball game.
But two of netball’s most dazzling clubs went toe-to-toe in the Guy Harvey’s Ocean Foundation All Stars and the World Gym Rising Stars.
The netball courts at Truman Bodden would be the site of the match, which served as the final game of the 2009 Cayman Islands Netball Association Mixed League.
Adding to the game’s significance would be the league title up for grabs. A win by the All Stars and the championship would be theirs. A loss and it would surely slip away.
One of the teams who could swoop in for the title could be the Rising Stars, who came into the match with just one loss.
In the match the hype translated to a tense atmosphere and a frenzied crowd that was eager for good play and an upset.
Umpires Janet Harris and Marcia Kennedy would have their hands full as emotions ran high on and off the court at times.
There were loads of athletic passes, tight shot angles and contact all over the court in a game that would end the season on the right note.
In the early going All Stars were in control. The first quarter would end with Guy Harvey’s having a slim 5-2 lead over World Gym.
Key to that advantage was the play of the team’s defensive core in Goal Keeper Rhod Taylor, Goal Defense Cynthia Collington and Wing Defense Kayon Clarke.
Collington used her wealth of netball experience to great effect, stepping into passing lanes and being physical with attacking players.
Taylor employed his great height to alter many shots and collect more than his fair share of missed shots.
Clarke was a tireless worker that stayed in the faces of attackers and showed great hands on loose balls.
The second quarter would tighten greatly as World Gym sprung to life and got some momentum on offense.
All Stars would escape with a 6-5 edge in the second quarter and go into half-time with an 11-7 lead.
Key to Rising Stars’ comeback was the hot shooting of Goal Shooter Collin Anglin. With his extraordinary agility it was no surprise he muscled his way into position and soared over defenders to score.
In addition the team got an inspired defensive performance from WD Tara Ramoon, GD Wendy Fisher, GK Delroy Myles and Centre Kemar Burton.
Ramoon showed valiant hustle at mid-court, getting her hands to many passes.
Fisher was hardly out of position, in spite of her petite stature, as her aggressive play served her well.
Myles did his best to alter shots with his good height and quick reflexes.
Burton was a presence in the middle as he dictated the pace of the game to a large extent by directing passes to the World Gym attacking players.
In spite of the lead, half-time would be an anxious one for the All Stars. Team stalwarts Nicola Williams and Lyneth Monteith (who were subs in the game) would urge their team-mates to stay hungry, keep working and avoid being complacent.
Apparently the message sank in loud and clear. The squad would produce an offensive explosion in the third quarter, slotting home 10 points.
Leading the charge on the offensive end for Guy Harvey’s was GS Andrew Wisdom, Goal Attack Pauline Bodden and Wing Attack Carolyn Vivian.
Wisdom sure played smart as he got in great positions to score and showed the kind of leaping ability that has served him well in sports like basketball and flag football.
Bodden was her usual constant self as her jump shot was on target and her feet kept moving without the ball.
Vivian meanwhile flashed the sort of passing skills that has made her one of the better attacking players in all of netball.
The death knell for World Gym would be a two-point effort from the offense in that quarter.
The fourth quarter would see more of the same as All Stars closed it out with a 7-4 edge over the World Gym side.
Without a doubt the man who made it happen in that quarter and throughout the game was Centre Gavin Watts. One of the unsung heroes on the team, Watts played like a prime-time player with his athleticism and endurance.
For World Gym there were some positives. Brittney Rose and Jessica Anderson did a decent job up front in support of Anglin. On defense subs Patrice Boothe and Gary Palmer made big contributions with their footwork and court vision.
Soon the final whistle would sound and the All Stars would celebrate a 28-13 victory.
Subs Courtney Wisdom and Avril Myers would join in the celebrations as the club went off into the night boasting the league title and an undefeated season.
Meanwhile subs Tricia Skyers-Palacio and Marcia Moiten would reflect with the rest of the Rising Stars team on another solid winning season.