Holmwood, Denbigh claim rural netball titles
BY OSHANE TOBIAS Observer writer
MAY PEN, Clarendon — Holmwood Technical denied Denbigh High the ISSA/Digicel Rural Area schoolgirl netball double after holding on to defend their Senior League title with a nerve-racking 37-34 victory at Clarendon Park yesterday.
Denbigh had earlier defeated Knox College 19-16 to claim the Junior League title, but got off to the worst possible start in the Senior League as Holmwood established a huge nine-point lead early in the first-half.
An amazing third-quarter collapse would, however, allow Denbigh to not only reduce Holmwood's deficit but also edge ahead by as many as two points (27-25).
But even with this dip in form, the feeling around the venue was that Holmwood had already done the hard work in the first and only needed to score their centre passes to see off the surging Denbigh team.
An elated Carline Graham-Powell, the Holmwood coach, dedicated the victory to late Junior League captain Shakeria Muschett, who died in the recent minibus crash involving students from the Christiania-based school.
"Honestly, I'm so elated. We just have to give God the glory because we really couldn't have done it without him," said Graham-Powell, before adding, "It was a tough game. Denbigh really came out and pushed us but in the end we came out on top."
"This is certainly what Shakeria would have wanted," she continued. "She's not with us and the tears are still here, but we knew we had to go out and do it."
For Denbigh coach, Christine Bartley, it was a bitter-sweet afternoon of netball after earlier watching her U-16s rallying for a three-point victory against Knox in the Junior League.
"I had no doubt that the juniors would pull through, but we really wanted the double," said Bartley in her post-game interview. "However, I can't beat the girls. To come back from nine goals to lose by three is certainly a big effort."
Holmwood and Denbigh will now turn their attention to the All-Island play-offs against The Queen's School - who won the Urban Area double - on Thursday at Clarendon Park.