Jamaica Gleaner / The ISSA all-island netball finals are on today at Manchester High.
New champions will be crowned in both the junior and senior divisions. Rural junior champions, Denbigh High, will take on St Catherine High before the senior champions, Holmwood Technical face Excelsior High from the urban area. The first game will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Most attention will be focused on the seniors where Holmwood, the 2015 champions, will be seeking their 10th all-island title while Excelsior, who missed out last year after losing to Denbigh, will be seeking their first.
Both teams had good wins last Friday at the National Indoor Sports Centre. In the urban final, the Christopher Smart-coached Excelsior got the better of Gaynstead High 37-28, and in the rural final, it was a 43-35 win for Holmwood over the defending champions, Denbigh.
Both coaches are confident going into today’s big match-up, which will begin at 2:30 p.m.
“We have been in this position many times and we know how to win. I expect a tough match, but the girls are very confident and we are champions and we know how to win,”, said a very confident Carlene Graham-Powell of Holmwood.
After guiding Excelsior to the urban title in his first year in 2016, coach Smart thinks his team can go all the way.
“The girls are all pumped up for this occasion the same way they were pumped up against Gaynstead in the urban final and I expect them to carry this momentum to the all-island finals against Holmwood,” Smart said.
Both teams have very good players and it should be close. Excelsior will be relying on national player Hasana Williams, who has been impressive in the goal attack position, and goal shooter Racoya Douglas.
A FIT TEAM
On the other hand, Holmwood are a very fit team and have looked awesome in the final quarters, and this could give them the advantage. The two key players are goal attack Shadine Bartley, who has been in terrific form in the last two matches, and goal shooter Sashagaye Forbes.
In the junior final, the Phyllis Thompson-coached St Catherine will be looking to pull off another big win after surprising a very solid Gaynstead side to earn their first urban title.
“The girls have worked hard all season and I am not surprised that they are in this position. I am looking forward to this game and once they remain focused they could create history once more,” said Thompson.
Denbigh pulled away in the final quarter for a convincing win against Manchester in the rural junior final, and coach Janice Walker is very cautious going into today’s final.
“It is going to be a close final and I think the team that makes the least turnovers will win, and hopefully it will be us,” said Walker.