St Giles Primary’s star shooter and Most Valuable Player Serena Edwards today led her school to their 12th title, defeating Vauxhall Primary 20-8 in the final of the Pine Hill Dairy-sponsored National Sports Council’s Primary Schools Netball Competition.
Vauxhall Primary were outstanding in the Marion Johnson-Hurley and Agnes Crichlow zone to reach the final, but today missed out on what would have been their first title in the 34th edition of the competition. St Giles dominated the game leading the first three quarters 5-2, 9-3 and 15-6 en route to lifting the coveted trophy.
Serena is the daughter of Carlyn Edwards, a former senior national player and Barbados’ first under-16 captain who also played for St Giles Primary around 1993 when they captured their first ever Pine Hill title.
Therefore it was no surprise that Edwards was so outstanding in the shooting circle today when she netted 18 goals from 24 attempts under the watchful eyes of her mother on the side line of the court, cheering along with specially invited guests that included zonal representatives Angela Gibbs, Kathy Harper-Hall, Agnes Crichlow, Marion Johnson-Hurley, Carolyn Sinckler, Marva Sealy, Inez Taylor and Pamala Proverbs along with interim chief executive officer of the National Sports Council, Jerry Blenman.
St Giles goal-shooter Shamarla Wickham had four chances and managed to put away two of them. Vauxhall shooters found the going tough against St Giles’ strong defence led by most outstanding goal-defender Amariah Williams. Despite the odds goal-shooter Makayla Lynch had an almost perfect score of five goals from six attempts and goal-attack Nyesha Harewood had three from six.
After a four-year gap since winning their last title in 2012, St Giles placed themselves in a commanding nine-point lead at half time in order to stand a good chance of adding yet another trophy to their already well-stocked cabinet.
Vauxhall made changes in the second and fourth periods when Kiara Holder moved from wing-attack to center and Tiara Devonish who was not in the starting seven played wing-attack in the second while in the fourth-quarter Briana Baird switched from wing-defence to wing-attack and Kaya Phillips played wing-defence in place of Baird. St Giles remained unchanged throughout the match.
In the third quarter St Giles applied the necessary pressure through Edwards who looked strong and aggressive in the semi- circle showing no fear of Vauxhall’s defence especially most outstanding goalkeeper Olianna Bishop who has been superb in the competition. She made life difficult for oppositions with her blocks, catches and 360 degree turns.
Edwards with quarter scores of five, three, five and five, continued to take the momentum away from Vauxhall with excellent shooting from all angles.
Then in the fourth and decisive quarter at 15-6 Edwards shot an additional five goals for St Giles to reach 20 with under a minute to play when Vauxhall shooters who were kept quiet throughout found two quick goals from goal-shooter Makayla Lynch and goal-attack Nyesha Harewood. But it was all a bit too late as time keeper and national player Damisha Croney started the count down that signalled the end to umpires Denise Alleyne and Sonia Banfield who blew their final whistle.
Sean Callender, physcial education teacher and coach of the victorious St Giles side, said he felt ecstatic and gave special mention to NSC coach Margaret Cutting who made some vital changes to St Giles team structure that allowed them to win yet another title.
He made special mention of class four student Edwards who will be heading to Christ Church Foundation – another powerhouse in netball – and whom he described as her mother’s prodigy. Callender said he could not have asked for a better performance from his players even though they were feeling a bit nervous entering today’s all important final.
“She [Edwards] is just following in the foot steps of her mother. She is a left hander and her mother gives her advice and really follows her through her athletics and she always reaches the final of NAPSAC [National Primary Schools Athletics Championship] in long jump or cricket ball and she is one person who is determined to win.
“I am always nervous coming into any game whether it is a team that is supposed to be weak or not. But I talk to the girls and all through the competition they listen to me. The children really worked hard and some evenings throughout the competition they gave up of their time even if it was only fifteen minutes to listen or had me out there throwing balls to improve their skills,” Callender said.
In the third place game West Terrace Primary, better known as the Tigers, took a one goal thriller, 11-10, against Ignatius Byer Primary who were down in the first three quarters 5-2, 8-4, 10-7. West Terrace’s goal-shooter Chantal Pinder had nine goals from 12 attempts and goal-attack Anse Alleyne, two of five. Ignatius Byer’s consistent goal-attack Kristie Griffith had seven goals from 11 attempts and goal-shooter Shania Boyce three from five attempts.
Most improved team honours went to Westbury Primary. It was most deserving for reaching the quarterfinal which was the furthest they had got in the history of the competition. There were several team and individual prizes awarded to the most outstanding teams and players. St Giles took away a big chunk of the top awards that included best goal-attack and top individual shooter that went to Edwards, wing-attack Keann Hurley and goal-defender Amariah Williams. They also won the team shooting competition from Wilkie Cumberbatch Primary and St Bernard’s Primary.
Other zone winners were Ignatius Byer in the Sonya Knight Zone, West Terrace hailing from the Angela Gibbs and Anna Shepherd Zone, Wilkie Cumberbatch topped the Marion Johnson- Hurley and Carolyn Sinckle Zone while St Bartholomew’s Primary won the Marva Sealy and Inez Taylor Zone.
Former queens Blackman and Gollop Primary who captured the title for two consecutive years in 2014 and 2015 did not get past the quarterfinal stage this year but did well to come out on top in the Pamala Proverbs Zone.
Best goal-shooter went to Dominique Blenman of George Lamming Primary, Shereya Jackman of Gordon Greenidge Primary was rewarded for her role in the center position while Akayna Babb of Ignatius Byer was given an award for being the top wing-defender.
One lucky player from St Giles – yet to be announced – will receive a $500 scholarship from stalwart of the sport, Kathy Harper- Hall.