Agard saves Villa
Bold tactics by “coach” Sabreena Smith backed up by the shooting of Faye Agard rescued Guardian Group Pride of Villa from a ten-goal deficit and earned them an amazing 48-41 win over Goodride Ballers in Division 1 netball at the Netball Stadium on Friday night.
With game-high scorer Keryn Clarke using her unorthodox one-handed shooting style to carry Goodride to a lead of 28-18 at the end of the first half, Villa’s hopes of making the title play-off seemed in great danger. At the other end, Barbados vice-captain Latonia Blackman had scored 16 of 17 in a game where Villa’s midcourt seemed blocked.
National player Faye Agard and Barbados footballer Kamillah Burke appeared incapable of cooling the fire from Clarke, who continued to burn the net from every position. Villa’s sole lead in that first half was at 9-8 before Clarke and Goodride moved into another gear.
With Villa down ten goals in the second half, injured Barbados player turned coach Smith made the bold decision to drastically change up her team. Burke was handed the centre bib, and Agard was switched to shooter with Blackman moving to defence along with young Chante Moore, who impressed all night.
While the glamorous Shakeena Rock was kept at goal attack to finish with a shooting card of (8/13), she played a great role in running the midcourt and feeding the ball to Agard (24/28). In addition, the tough Burke was able to restrain former Barbados midcourt star Kizzy Marville, who until then had been controlling the game for Goodride.
The combination of Blackman and Moore slowed Clarke while neutralising Kelly Knight (5/11) as well as her replacement Coleen Griffith, who was allowed just two successful shots. Agard mixed her defence prowess with her shooting ability to lift Villa from 25-34 to 37-34 before Goodride scored another goal.
With the all-round pressure from Villa creating panic for Goodride, Clarke’s numbers dropped to single digits in the last two quarters while Agard was flawless in shooting a perfect 12 to keep her team on track for a showdown with Spooners Hill Firebirds and Pine Hill St Barnabas for the Division 1 crown. (KB)