St James Racers seek first win against Manchester Spurs

Thursday, December 07, 2017

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St James Racers are hoping their exciting play will amount to a win against Manchester Spurs, in Netball Jamaica's Berger Elite League opening match at Leila Robinson Courts today, beginning at 6:00 pm.

The feature game of this evening's double-header will match Clarendon Gaters against St Catherine Racers.

St James will be playing their first match, while Manchester are coming off an opening game 41-37 victory over St Catherine Racers on Tuesday night.

St James' coach Jennifer Brown said exciting play is their “hallmark” and they will be looking to continue that trend to be victorious.

“St James is one of the surprise teams every year, even though on paper we don't have the best team. But we're a bunch that plays entertaining netball, that's our hallmark. We want to start off with a win, we're going to go all-out tomorrow,” said Brown.

“Manchester had a very good match against St Catherine last night (Tuesday). We're hoping, as well, to go out there and do well,” she added. “We're approaching the game very cautious, but we really want to do well. We were talking about getting it right even though this is our first outing.”

The Spurs battled resolutely to beat off a determined challenge from St Catherine Racers in a see-saw battle and their coach Connie Francis is looking for win number two.

“Firstly, I am very happy that we came out on top, winning our first game. But it doesn't end right there,” said Francis, whose team trailed at the first quarter, but rebounded to take a solid lead, then fought resolutely to hold off St Catherine Racers.

“After the first quarter I got a chance to assess the team and we made some changes to get the right combinations as well. What I like about our team is that under pressure we play better. We had less turnovers and more interceptions … and to close out the game we were able to put it together,” observed Francis, the former national player and coach.

Anna-Kay Griffiths led Manchester's scoring with 20 from 25 tries in three quarters, while goal shooter Giselle Allison had 14 goals from 21 attempts. Nicole Dixon contributed the other seven, from 13 tries.

For St Catherine, Tracy-Ann Francis led all scorers with 22 from 27 attempts, also playing three quarters, while Shanice Howe scored nine from 13 and Kestina Sturridge six from eight.

“Hopefully we'll carry on from how we finished and take that into the game tomorrow, as we'll be looking to win. We're starting to gel,” she noted ahead of their second game in this new season, the fourth staging of the competition.

In Tuesday's other game, defending champions St Ann Orchids also suffered a loss, as they were outclassed 47-34 by Kingston Hummingbirds, whose shooting pair delivered. Sabrina Spence was in immaculate form, scoring 29 of 31 tries, while her national counterpart, Shanice Beckford, scored 18 from 25 attempts.

The Orchids could have made the game tighter with better shooting, as they got ample opportunities. But the combination of the talented Thristina Harwood, who shot 24 goals from 29 attempts, Rebekah Robinson, eight from 14, and Vanessa Jones, two from four, were off rhythm and the defending champions now have a one-win, one-loss record.

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