April 22, 2005
Maple losing grib on netball title

Will the Division One title of the Cable and Wireless National Netball Club Championship change hands for yet another year?

The answer to this will be known in the next few weeks, with two decisive matches still to be played. But one chapter of the title chase was revealed last week Thursday night at the Kingstown Netball Center. {{more}}

Reigning champions, Vita Malt Maple lost a grip on the trophy, going under to arch-rival Pine Hill Buddy Pak Mitres and throwing the title wide open.

The pre-match billing lived up to expectations, and when the first quarter ended 15-13 in Maple’s favour, interest and intensity grew at the venue.

With neither teams giving anything away, the contest became a battle of attrition. Mitres, sporting the nucleus of the national team though did enough to end the half 29-25,outscoring their opponents 16-10.

The experienced Maple team dug deep into their reservoir, and the accurate shooting by the duo of Skiddy Francis-Crick and Thelma Foster saw a change of lead at the third quarter whistle.

Maple was enjoying a 41-38 advantage assisted by some poor shooting. Mitres

National captain Dellarice Duncan who made the move from her Wing Attack position to Goal Attack. This tactical ploy proved a good one for Mitres and with Duncan’s deft passes the Maple defence were reduced to spectators.

A tired looking Maple team began committing several unforced errors much to the delight to the partisan crowd while Maple’s management team griped with disappointment. Mitres soldiered on to win 50-48.

Heather Dunbar shot 23 from her 34 attempts, Geshell Peters, 26 from 39 and Duncan ??? from 3 contributed to Mitres’ triumph and a step closer to the retaining the top spot; a position they last enjoyed in 2001.

Francis-Crick scored 36 from her 40 attempts, RoseClair Hall 7 from 10 and Foster 5 from 5.

Both Mitres and Maple still have reigning OECS champions C and R Enterprises Sion Hill on their agenda.

Sion Hill won the national title in 2003 and can spoil the plans of the other two. Apart from gaining bragging rights, the Division One winner earns the opportunity to represent St. Vincent and the Grenadines at sub-regional competition.