• Today
    February 18

  • 05:20 PM

Netball team takes second spot

Sherrylyn A. Toppin,

Added 29 July 2010

BARBADOS will join Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica as the teams from the Americas Federation of Netball Association (AFNA) region at the 2011 World Netball Championships in Singapore.On Tuesday night, Trinidad and Tobago defeated hosts St Lucia 57-45 in the decisive match of the 2010 AFNA Championships to finish on top of the six-team group. Barbados were second, followed by the United States, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines and Canada.Jamaica had already qualified based on their fourth place world ranking.Barbados had some anxious moments waiting on the outcome of that match, and it was only until the dying moments of the third quarter that Trinidad and Tobago were able to pull away from the hosts. They were helped by the fact that Shem Maxwell, one of the more accurate shooters in the competition was moved to wing defence, while shooter Glatta Gabriel picked up an injury and had to leave the game.Commenting on the Barbados team’s performance, head coach Alwyn Babb who took over in January, said the performance was satisfactory and his first outing was a learning experience.“We came here wanting to win, but the most important thing is that we qualified,” Babb said in a telephone interview yesterday morning.“This competition afforded me the opportunity to see all the members of the team, to try different combinations, to get an idea of what will work going into the Commonwealth Games and which combination is most productive.“There are some areas of concern that you don’t see during practice, but during play, they present themselves when you have to deal with the different styles of countries,” Babb said.Among those areas, he identified the consistency of the attack; decision-making for passes; the full-court defensive press and most important, the need for taller defensive players.He said a 5’11” player – regardless of how good she was – would not be effective against a 6’ shooter who would jump; and in the absence of taller players, they would need to work on the mid-court pressure so that the service to the shooter was limited.“We were the smallest and shortest team here,” Babb said.The coach said pundits might question why he constantly changed the starting line-up, but he believed that the qualifying level was the place to experiment and see how players fared.Babb said netball lovers throughout the AFNA region were excited “about the resurgence of Barbados” in the sport, and he appealed to corporate Barbados to provide the necessary support to the Barbados Netball Association so that the players could get opportunities to travel and adequate preparation for the October 3 to 14 Commonwealth Games in India. Summarised scores: Barbados 60 (Lydia Bishop 34/39, Nikita Piggott 26/28). Canada 31 (Amanda Bongers 17/27, Sabrina Versteeg 14/23).

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