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Spooners Hill in playoffs

Kenmore Bynoe

Spooners Hill in playoffs

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Spooners Hill cemented their playoff spot while UWI Blackbirds let slip their last thread to advance when the two teams met in a keen Division 1 netball battle at the Netball Stadium on Friday night.
Spooners Hill edged UWI 50-45 by rallying behind the deadly shooting of former Barbados player Lydia Bishop.
The Blackbirds had actually taken the lead 32-30 in the third quarter. Successive turnovers at that stage by UWI highlighted where they faltered in failing to build the lead to score the upset.
UWI were also affected by an ankle injury to Jehlesal Brathwaite which saw her being lifted from the court in the second quarter while cramp problems affected Teresa Howell in the third quarter and a chest cold forced centre Tyna King to sit out the last two quarters.  Spooners Hill led after all three quarters – 13-11, 25-20, 36-25.
The robust Monique James enjoyed her best night of the season, the eve of her birthday, as she shot 29 of 33 at goal shoot.   Kittitian Michelle Liburd scored 16 goals from 23 attempts in spite of UWI struggling in the mid-court to get and keep the ball.
On a night where sturdy shooters excelled, Bishop employed speed and skill to repeatedly shift and shake her defence of Alicia Harding, Brathwaite and Teresa Howell to drop 44 goals from 49 attempts.
Keisha Griffith shot three of eight at goal attack while the equally robust Colleen Griffith took the goal attack bib in the fourth quarter to hit three of four for Spooners Hill.
Spooners Hill’s defeat by leaders Pine Hill St Barnabas in the previous game would have been orchestrated by coach Margaret Cutting, who employed a shut-out tactic to ensure that Bishop had to leave the circle to get the pass and then denied the return passage. However, on Friday night Cutting, in the role of UWI’s coach, could not get Harding, Howell or Brathwaite to engage such plays against Bishop.
Ironically, Brathwaite’s ankle injury came about as she collided with Harding as the duo was shifted by Bishop. The lack of height on the defence also proved futile against the crafty Bishop.  
At the other end, the aggressive Chekirah Shepherd settled into a new role of goalkeeper for Spooners Hill with Kathleen Brathwaite and Shondelle Sandiford also sharpening their skills for the oncoming play-offs.
However, in spite of a consistent effort from Damisha Croney, UWI’s weak centre court play would not have provided Spooners Hill with the adequate preparation for what is expected to be a playoff battle with defending champions C.O. Williams Rangers.