Barbados’ Under-21 netball team got in much needed practice last night when they battled against the national senior team at the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.
The youngsters, predictably, were beaten, 50-28, but the exposure to the tough competition of their seniors was more important than the scoreline at the final whistle. They had to contend with professional netballer Nikita Piggott who plays in the England Super League, as well as stand-out players Latonia Blackman, Samantha Browne and Kizzy Marville, among others.
The senior girls were pushed all the way in the opening quarter which ended at 12-8 but then the senior players demonstrated their superiority by increasing their advantage by the end of the ensuing quarters. At the half-time whistle the senior team led 25-12 and at the end of the third quarter they enjoyed a 37-20 lead on the Under-21 side. For the Under-21 team Shonica Wharton was a perfect six goals from six attempts, Vanessa Reid-Cox netted nine goals from 14 attempts, Rieah Holder had six goals from her eight attempts and Shannon Hackett had seven goals from nine attempts. While the shooting of the youngsters was relatively okay it was the service they received that had much to do with the points differentiation as the senior girls harried them with good defensive play throughout the practice match.
Piggott had her way with the youngsters on the offensive end netting 33 goals from 39 attempts which were basically about the same number of attempts at goal which they allowed their junior counterparts. Blackman added 12 goals from 12 attempts and Faye Sealy had five goals from six attempts.
The Barbados Under-21 team leave the island very shortly for the World Youth Netball Championships to be staged from August 22 to 31 in Glasgow, Scotland. Holder is captain of the squad.