Six on the trot for St Barnabas
THE STRATEGY for slowing or stopping runaway Division 1 netball leaders Pine Hill St Barnabas is simple – deny imposing goal shooter Laurel Browne the ball.
Employing the same tactic against the accurate Lydia Bishop would also defeatSpooner’s Hill.
While knockout queens St Barnabas got it right to romp to a 6-0 record, Spooner’s Hill could find no actress to follow the script as they fumbled to defeat and a 2-2 record when the league action continued on Saturday night at the Netball Stadium.
When a second shower came seven minutes before the end of the final quarter, St Barnabas were leading 41-29 which saw Spooner’s Hill indicating that with a number of unwell players and facing such a large deficit they would concede the match.
Spooner’s Hill had kept in contention with 12-7 and 26-18 scorelines, giving fans lots of hope for the underdogs. However, a total mismatch in the shooting circle between Browne and goal defence Shondelle Sandiford and goal keeper Kathleen Brathwaite gave Browne and St Barnabas the distinct advantage where they moved to 37-25 at the end of the third quarter.
At the other end, the powerful Shonette Bruce and veteran Jackie Browne-McConney tormented the deadly Bishop and thwarted all hopes of Spooner’s Hill scoring an upset.
Bishop scored 21 of 28 but the defence of Bruce and Browne-McConney forced goal attack Renee Rudder to get a higher percentage of shots, 20. She converted just eight.
Bishop often had to leave the circle to beat her opponents’ defence trap but then she was not allowed a return passage, forcing 40 per cent shooter Rudder to take the shot.
The height and skills of the irrepressible Browne saw her ending with 45 shots – just three fewer than the entire Spooner’s Hill team. She scored 38 and the dependable Sheniqua Thomas scored three of seven.
Except for bringing in “secret weapon” Julie Phillips in the fourth quarter at wing attack, St Barnabas saw no need to adjust their script. On the other hand, Spooner’s Hill employed various substitutions to try to pull the game back.
The physical Chekirah Shepherd was moved from centre to goal keeper to try to stop the bleeding of points, with Joyanne Cooke taking the centre position and Coleen Griffith replacing Keisha Griffith as wing attack. That move did not affect Browne and it gutted Spooner’s Hill’s midcourt as minus Shepherd’s aggression, St Barnabas widened the gap.
The rain and Spooner’s Hill capitulation then gave St Barnabas coach Margaret Cutting an early birthday gift, as she celebrates the big day today.