Maples and Calder are a relatively new name in local netball that has been historically inconsistent. However this year the side excelled but came up short of a shot at the national title.
The law firm lost to the reigning champions Roma A 39-14 at Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts. The match was part of the semi-finals for the Cayman Islands Netball Association 2011 open league.
Starting Wing Attack Christina Gordon paced Maples as team captain and manager. Gordon, who turned 25 last month, states the playoff loss to Roma was far from one-sided.
“We played really well though Roma are the defending champs so it goes without saying that they are a great team,” Gordon said. “The score line does not reflect the way we played. We had a great showing, we put up a fight and we couldn’t play any better than that. The defence was awesome and our centre court was solid. Our shooters had an off-night and they think that cost us the game. The goals didn’t go in and that was the difference really.”
For Maples the loss brings a close to a year in which the side performed the best in its brief three-year existence. During the regular season Maples finished fourth in the league with a 5-3 mark. Stats-wise the side was in the middle of pack offensively with 217 goals scored but were third in defence as they allowed 168 goals.
The fourth place finish is significant. The top four sides in the competition play for the national championship trophy while the bottom four clubs contend for the consolation trophy. In the last two years Maples were among the bottom four sides. This year’s showing also came in the face of major upheaval in the team as former captain Keisha Solomon (nee Terry) left the squad to play for All Stars A.
In the 2011 playoffs the Maples shooters were Latoya Nixon (Goal Shooter) and Catherine Anderson (Goal Attack). Both had good looks on net but missed a few shots from distance. It must be noted that the side played without attacking player Melanie Lewis, one of the sport’s better experienced scorers, who was out due to illness.
Nevertheless Gordon, an article clerk at Maples, states she is proud of her side considering their showing last year.
“Overall we did really well, especially compared to last year. We’re a far cry from being second to last in the 2010 league. Clearly we’re a better team this year. It all came with time, practice and the building of team chemistry. We were a new team with new members. We exceeded a lot of expectations and the other teams’ expectations of us.
“As for next season we are definitely going to have a team. I will leave it at that for now.”
Technically Maples are not out of the playoff picture. They are slated to play this Thursday 21 April at 6.30pm, Maples take on the loser of last Saturday’s other semi-final encounter between Rising Stars A and All Stars A for third place.