Host St Vincent and the Grenadines faltered in their last two matches, losing to Grenada, then was held to a draw by St Lucia, in the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank/ Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States International Netball Series, which ended here last Friday at the Arnos Vale Netball Complex.
After chalking up six wins on the trot prior to last Thursday night’s second round encounter versus Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines was poised to take the title.
Buoyed by a large and vocal crowd, the home team sped to a 13-10 lead in the first quarter, only to see Grenada rebound to take the second quarter 25-22.
The Vincentians restored their lead at the end of the third quarter, with a 42-40 score-line.
SVG’s lead was extended to five at one juncture in the last quarter. However, several turn overs gave the Grenadians new hope, which they gleefully accepted.
Grenada went on to win 57-54, much to the disappointment of the many Vincentians, who flocked to the venue.
This meant that St Vincent and the Grenadines had to defeat St Lucia in the final encounter of the tournament in order to ink their names as the first holders of the Gloria Ballantyne shield.
Doom descended on the venue on Friday evening, as St Lucia took a first quarter lead of 13-11, and at the half-way mark, was 25-18, thus silencing another hopeful Vincentian crowd.
Clawing their way back in the contest, St Vincent and the Grenadines cut the deficit to four, as the St Lucia remained ahead 34-30.
A valiant effort by the Vincentians in the final quarter, saw them coming in a whisker to take the game and the title in dramatic fashion, only to be hurt by an umpire’s call.
At the sound of the final whistle, the scores read: St Vincent and the Grenadines, 42, St Lucia, 42, to fittingly end an enthralling seven days of netball.
Both Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines had six wins and one loss. Grenada had to share the points in an abandoned fixture versus St Lucia, while St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia, also shared the spoils in their tied match.
The two accumulated 13 points each, but Grenada laid hands on the inaugural title, nipping St Vincent and the Grenadines by goal difference.
St Lucia, with four wins, one draw and a no result, ended on 10 points and in third place.
Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, both finished on 2 points, as they traded their encounters one match apiece, while losing on both occasions to Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines and St Lucia.
The tournament, though, saw St Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda and Dominica, now eligible to get a ranking on the International Netball Federation’s (INF) listing.
The trio met the requirement of playing eight international matches within a calendar year in order to gain ranking points.
Grenada entered the tournament in position 21 and St Vincent and the Grenadines, in position 23, on the INF table.
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