Struggling Gaters up against Sharpes
Clarendon Gaters are aiming to control their hunger for a win and make their advantage count down the stretch in their quest to rally and claim a place in Netball Jamaica's Berger Elite League.
The Gaters have squandered winning positions in three of their matches to lose all five contested in the first half of the sport's premier championship in the country.
With five games remaining, they are looking to buck that losing trend, starting today in the feature match of a double-header against St James Sharpes, at the Leila Robinson Courts, National Stadium Complex, beginning at 7 p.m.
Their match will be preceded by a 5:30 p.m. showdown between defending champions St Ann Orchids and St Catherine Racers. The latter have six points from two victories, the same as the Sharpes, while St Ann Orchids are third on nine points from three wins. Manchester Spurs lead with a perfect 15 points from five, while Kingston Hummingbirds are second on 12 points, having won four of six matches.
In order to quench their winning desire, Clarendon Gaters' coach, Dalton Hinds, said that they want to manage their anxiety at crunch time.
"One of the problems in doing the analysis is they want to win so badly and in trying so hard it works against you," Hinds assessed. "We had a training session last night (Thursday), we talked about it at length and we're hoping that we can carry most of what we've discussed into the game.
"One of the challenges is we've not been playing 60 minutes of netball. We play three quarters and then we fall down in the last quarter and that has happened in the last four matches that we played," he added, then pointed to St James Sharpe's victory on Monday, when they were trailing by 10, but rallied to beat St. Catherine Racers (48-38) by the same margin.
"At this level, consistency is the order of the day," outlined Hinds. "Three of the games that we lost marginally, we were leading up to the third quarter."
His team is the only one without a former national shooter, at any level, in their ranks, but will look to an all-round effort to provide support for Shedeiky Hamilton-Barnes and Shadian Hemmings to deliver the goods. They have the very experienced Zonasha Hinds, Kerry-Ann Brown and Althea Byfield as backups.
Their opponents, St James Sharpes, also have some amount of national experience in shooter Simone Forbes, Jodi-Ann French-Kentish, Kasey Evering and Deneen Taylor.
Forbes has been in immaculate form, with a high-90s shooting percentage and paved the way for Thursday's 48-45 win over Kingston Hummingbirds, scoring 36 of 39 tries.
"Last night, we won our game. The thing is, we haven't trained as a team and we're basically new with each other, plus the games are back to back," noted Evering, who missed the contest.
However, she noted a similar pattern to the Gaters, whom they beat 48-47 in a first-round nail-biter.
"We play in patches. We want to finish how we start," said Evering. "We're working towards winning all our remaining games. The good thing about this one is we've played them before so we know what we'll be up against.
"We're going to go out there to execute as best as we can and try to get a bigger margin. We've to just use experience to carry us through," said Evering.
Supporting Forbes in Thursday's win was French-Kentish, who netted Sharpes' other goals on 12 of 16 shooting.
Sabrina Spence had a game-high 40 of 46 tries for the Hummingbirds, while Shanice Beckford scored five of nine tries.
In Thursday's other game, the Spurs marched forward with a 50-42 win over Racers. Anna-Kay Griffiths led the shooting with 25 of 33 tries, while Nicole Dixon sunk 24 of 30 and Giselle Allison, one from one.