Double joy

Gaynstead High win historic netball double

Observer writer

Thursday, December 06, 2018

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Gaynstead High s chool won a historic ISSA Netball Under-16 and Under-19 double with wins over Norman Manley High and St. Catherine High, respectively, at the Leila Robinson Courts on Tuesday.

The juniors turned back the challenge of Norman Manley 29-27 in a close and exciting affair for their third hold on the title, while the seniors were more dominant in getting by St Catherine High for their first-ever hold on the crown.

The stage was set for Gaynstead to take the unique double after they qualified for both finals for the second year in succession, but Norman Manley threatened to spoil the party early. In a close first quarter they were able to hold a one-goal lead after the first 10 minutes at 8-7 as they were cheered on by their vociferous supporters.

But Gaynstead High rallied in the second quarter to inch ahead by one goal at the half-time break as they led 16-15. The third quarter continued to produce the same level of excitement as it ended 20-20.

In the final quarter, however, the Dalton Hines-coached team finally saw some daylight as they managed to open up a four-point gap at one point. They would eventually close out the contest with a two-goal winning margin, thanks largely in part to the efforts of goal shooter Gabrielle Phillips, who poured in 23 of her teams goals from 26 attempts. Shanelle Bentley led the way for Norman Manley, also with 23 goals, but from 29 attempts.

Winning coach Dalton Hines credited preparation for the success this year, which eluded his junior's a year ago.

“I thought it was a good performance from my team. It was a very good final as either team could have won, but I am happy that we came out victorious. We prepared well all season and this victory caps it off. I am really, really elated to have won today,” he said.

With the juniors' setting the tone, the seniors knew that it was on them to go further than they had ever gone before. They got off to an impressive first-quarter lead of 10-3 against a St Catherine team that seemed as though they didn't belong.

However, as bad as they were in the first quarter, it's as good as St Catherine were in the second. They overpowered Gaynstead in the midcourt and poured in the goals to cut the deficit to 15-14 at the half-time break.

Latanya Wilson made the difference in the third quarter as her defensive efforts turned around the match for Gaynstead. The offence suddenly got it together and Gaynstead surged to a six-goal (26-20) lead at the end of three quarters.

The first-time senior winners were able to maintain the lead in the fourth quarter and closed out the win with less pressure as St Catherine centre Chevelle-Lee Thompson was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.

An overjoyed Hines promised a dynasty in the making after finally securing the senior title.

“We have been waiting three years for this and this is testimony to our excellent programme at Gaynstead. We will rule supreme for years to come,” he promised.

Last year's senior champions Excelsior High had a 36-31 win over The Queen's School to end the season in third place, which was the same for the St Catherine juniors who got the better of St Hugh's High 27-21 in their play-off game.

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