No Easing Up
July 13, 2007
No Easing Up

St. Vincent and the Grenadines have no intention at least in the near future of giving up their hold on the ECCB Under-23 netball title.

When the championship is held next year at a venue in the Windward Islands which is yet to be decided, seven players who helped this country to their twelfth lien on the title last week Friday in Antigua and Barbuda, will be eligible.{{more}}

Captain Leanna Lewis, Saska Diamond, Tamara Samuel, Anella Samuel, Marcia Gordon, Sonia Olliver and Tonique Bowens could form the nucleus of the 2008 set up.

And the prospects of other teams coming close to dethrone St. Vincent and the Grenadines are daunting as some key players have as much as three more years to go. In addition, Bowens who made her debut at the Antigua championship is still under the age of sixteen.

Those who exited this age category were Ornallie King, Jasmine Frank and Julia Cumberbatch.

The victorious outfit returned to the state last Saturday night without much fanfare, but with a trailer load of awards.

Apart from the championship trophy, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was adjudged the Best Defensive Team and the Best Attacking Team and the team that scored the most goals.

Considered one of the best centre court players in the region, Saska Diamond (photo right) was named the Best Centre court player, the Most Valuable Player of the championship and was this country’s Most Valuable Player as well.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines after a 61-22 crushing of Dominica last week Wednesday, followed up with a 56-35 win over Antigua and Barbuda, clinched the title in similar fashion to the 2006 affair, winning by the slimmest of margins. They triumphed 44-43 over St. Lucia.

Reflecting on the deciding fixture, coach Rose Clair Hall said it was a bruising encounter.

“It was a tough game but we came through in the end”, Hall in her debut outing as a national team coach said.

She recalled many of her charges being physically handled by the St. Lucians causing several interventions by match officials.

Despite the challenges of the final match, team manager Sonja Lewis was nonetheless proud of the girls’ fortitude in sticking it out.

“I am extremely proud of the girls. They went into the tournament well focussed; it was a total team effort”, an elated team manager remarked to SEARCHLIGHT shortly after the team’s arrival at the E. T Joshua Airport.

Lewis had high commendation for the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Antigua Association, whom she said were very supportive of the girls.

“They came out to every game with their St. Vincent and the Grenadines flag and sang the national anthem, their support was tremendous”, she added.

Team captain Leanna Lewis echoed similar sentiments referring to the all round effort of the team that was the major contributor to the success of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines outfit.

“I feel great, wonderful, words cannot explain how I feel at this time”, were the talented shooter’s comments.