Local netball is in the waning stages of its regular season. With the playoffs nearing a pair of teams sent a message to their opponents that they are forces to be reckoned with.
April got off to a bang at the netball courts at Truman Bodden Sports Complex. On Saturday Roma A downed rivals All Stars A 47-32 while Rising Stars A annihilated Unity B 73-4. Both matches are part of the 2011 open league put on by the Cayman Islands Netball Association.
Roma A came into the year as the defending champions. Thus far they have looked set to repeat with an unbeaten run. It was not an easy victory but Roma kept their perfect record intact thanks largely to Goal Shooter Kay Copeland, who was just flawless.
Some credit should go to All Stars Goal Defence Carline Reid and Goal Keeper Kayon Clarke. Both fought mightily with Copeland for positioning and hampered entry passes. But Copeland was too tall and too strong; by this reporter’s count she had at least 35 points. With that effort it is no surprise Roma led most of the match by scores of 12-7, 13-11 and 12-8 in the first, second and fourth quarter.
Copeland was spectacular but she had loads of help. Goal Attack Nicola Pringle made good decisions with the ball and, when called upon, she did a good job of scoring. Wing Attack Stacy-Ann Dehaney proved to be on the ball and she constantly got the offence going. Centre Dazenia Ricketts, a newcomer to the team, was masterful at mid-court as she never tired between offensive and defensive duties. It’s a pity sub Ramona Denton did not get a chance to shine on offence but clearly Roma are spoilt with talent.
As noted earlier All Stars gave a great fight and stats-wise that came clear with a 16-10 advantage in the third quarter. Credit for that goes to a trio of wily veterans who never surrender in GS Molly-Ann Moore, GA Pauline Bodden and WA Adena Miller. They also benefitted from inspired play from Wing Defence Whanda Fuad, who showed the kind of moves that belie her age, and C Kimesha Walters (a former Unity player) whose hustle was inspiring and unrelenting.
When it was all said and done though Roma kept their lead and maintained top billing in netball thanks to their defence. WD Paula Hughes, GD Carrie Barnett and GK Sudan Powell are simply among the best in the sport. The experienced, talented trio stifled an All Stars comeback late and have kept teams in check throughout the season.
One team they might have to deal with in the post-season is Rising Stars A. Posting north of 70 points on any netball team is nothing to sneeze at; even if other sides have run up the score on the Unity teams. The offence was an unstoppable machine that showcased talented shooter Rosemarie Wilson and veterans Marcia Moiten and Tricia Skyers-Palacio (who also serves as a club manager).
In fact Roma A and Rising Stars A will tangle this Saturday 9 April at Truman Bodden. The match is at 6.30pm, with Maples and Calder also battling Unity A.