NHT 'A' are Business House Open League netball champions

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

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NATIONAL Housing Trust (NHT) “A” captured the 2018 Business House Netball Association (BHNA) Open League title when they defeated defending champions Scotiabank 32-25 in the final inside the National Indoor Sports Centre (NISC) last Saturday night.

In the Consolation Knockout final Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation beat Lannaman & Morris Shipping Limited 25-23. This was the Wayne Wallace-coached aggregation's first time entering the Business House netball competition.

Ministry of Education and Youth (MOEY) “A” edged out Appliance Traders Limited “A” 17-16 to capture the third place play-off in the Open League, while MOEY “B” defeated JACE Management Consultant Limited 30-13 in the Consolation Knockout third placed play-off.

The matches had to be moved inside the NISC due to heavy afternoon showers that delayed the start, resulting in Leila Robinson Courts being unfit for play. However, with not enough time to erect the board court inside, the teams played on the shiny concrete surface inside the NISC which proved slippery, thus limiting players' ability to play.

Nonetheless, the Christopher Smart-aggregation completed the season as the only unbeaten team, while the loss was Scotiabank's first.

Smart said it was a great triumph for NHT “A” as Scotiabank have always been the dominant team with General Accident both of whom have won the Open League more than any other teams in the competition.

“The girls executed well throughout the entire match, as we had a plan to shut down Scotiabank's free-flowing fast-attacking plays. We approached the game much slower than our opponents as we had decided that we would not follow their fast plays,” Smart explained.

Smart claimed that when Scotiabank's coach Winston Nevers pulled out top shooter Marsha Murphy-Dawkins, he knew that he (Nevers) was a bit confused as his team was under pressure.

“Our defence led by national representative Vangelee Williams, along with Kerry-Ann Brown and Abbigail Linton gave our opposing shooters little chance of gaining possession of the ball inside the circle as they defended and intercepted extremely well,” said an elated Smart.

Meanwhile, Nevers said it was a very good and competitive final between two good teams. “The only difference between the two was the strong defensive work of NHT “A” defenders that they applied against our shooters.

“This is the first time we have lost to NHT “A” in a local game other than in the Miami Netball Classic last year December. They played very well to come out winners, but Scotiabank, the Divisional Senior League defending champions should be hard to defeat in the one-hour competition, because it is a much longer version than the Open League which is 40 minutes,” Nevers added.

Nevers said the slippery playing concrete surface slightly hampered the team's usual fast-attacking style as it was too shine for the players to move quickly on the court without hurting themselves. “We play a much faster attacking combination than most of the teams and it slowed down the team's swift movements on court.”

Action in the first quarter of the Open League final saw the defending champions Scotiabank starting off well by taking the early 4-1 lead through their shooters Marsha Murphy-Dawkins and Tennisha Bernard.

NHT “A” quickly scored three straight goals between their two shooters Thristina Harwood and Jodi-Ann Ffrench-Kentish to level at 4-4, then seconds later went in the lead for a brief moment before the champions tied at 5-5, then ending the quarter leading 6-5.

In the second quarter NHT “A” gained the upper hand as they had the better of the exchanges through the combined centre court attacking plays by Antoinette Stone, Trishana Hanson and Kerry-Ann Brown.

They eventually led 15-12 at the half-time break.

In the third quarter, NHT “A” opened up a five-point lead to 24-19 at the break.

NHT “A” continued to dominate the game and in the process took control of centre court as Scotiabank struggled to stay in contention. Their defence led by Althea Byfield and Shadian Hemmings had too much work to contain Harwood, who was at the helm of the housing team's 32-25 victory.

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