Most Valuable Player Skye Spencer-Layne showcased sublime netball shooting skills that led her school West Terrace Primary to their very first National Sports Council Pine Hill Dairy-sponsored Primary Schools Netball Championship trophy.
Tuesday at the Netball Stadium, the curtains came down on the competition with West Terrace becoming the second school in two consecutive years to deny Vauxhall Primary a chance at lifting the title having made the final last year and losing to St Giles Primary.
Just after 11:30.a.m. the championship game consisting of four quarters of six minutes each commenced between the two top schools that have never tasted victory since the tournament’s inception 35 years ago in 1982.
West Terrace referring to themselves as the Tigers dominated the Angela Gibbs and Anna Shepherd zone and Tuesday after being down 2-3 and 4-5 at half-time came from behind to command the final quarters 9-7 and 12-9 over an emotionally drained Vauxhall team who had worked very hard for a victory only to end up being the bridesmaids yet again.
Spencer-Layne, former 2014 victrix ludorum at the National Primary Schools Athletics Championship, exhibited some wonderfully accurate shooting in her final year representing her primary school before making the transition in September to the colours of Christ Church Foundation.
The versatile goal-attack netted ten goals from 14 attempts and was ably supported by goal-shooter Sierra Rayside with two of six.
Meanwhile first choice goal-shoot Makayla Lynch was responsible for all nine of Vauxhall Primary’s goals.
The two teams were good on defence especially Vauxhall goalkeeper and captain Joanna Atkins who was later moved to goal-defence in the fourth and decisive quarter for which she was adjudged the best in the tournament. Atkins utilised her height very well to intercept several passes for Vauxhall.
However, West Terrace ensured they continued to feed their shooters inside the semi-circle and much credit to Rianna Wiggins who commanded the centre post.
The primary school queens of St James were tied 7-7 when Spencer-Layne freed her arms for four consecutive goals at different ranges that not only ended the tie but also placed her team in a commanding position.
Several cheers from the Tigers’ support team in the stands greeted each goal scored by the young lady. That performance was the deciding factor that practically sealed the victory as Vauxhall had a hard task of either keeping the ball in their possession or getting it past West Terrace athletic defence team led by goalkeeper Jahzara Holford, goal-defence Tikera Browne-Hall and wing-defence Morgan Tobiere who played well to ensure both of Vauxhall shooters Lynch and goal-attack Mariah Chandler got limited possession.
Ecstatic coach and physical education teacher, Roderick Harmon, acknowledged that throughout the tournament they had encountered stiff competition which made the victory all the sweeter.
“We knew what our team was capable of and our drill was that if we can just correct those mistakes and stay true to our form we will come out triumphant and thank God today we did,” he said.
Harmon, a teacher at West Terrace for the past 16 years, explained one of the many reasons the school has done so well in sports was due to being blessed with an abundance of talent.
“One you have talent, it makes the coaches job easy and the school has been blessed in the time that I have been there. We have had tremendously talented young people. For me the challenge with everything is for people to think and to believe in themselves,” he said.
In the third-place play-off, Grantley Prescod were victorious 13-6 against A DaCosta Edwards Primary with goal-shooter Kimberley Phillips scoring eight of 14 attempts and goal-attack Azariah Ashton five from 12. Kiara Taylor accounted for all six of A DaCosta goals.
For the tournament, most outstanding goal-shooters were Phillips of Grantley Prescod and Lynch of Vauxhall. Four players were rewarded for their role at goal-attack and they were Spencer-Layne, Ciara Evelyn, Tiana Morris of Lawrence T Gay Memorial and Shania Thomas of Charles F. Broome Primary. The best wing-attack was Rianna Wiggins of West Terrace, Danika Smith of A DaCosta Edwards was adjudged the most outstanding center, best wing-defence honours went to Doneisha Gill of Half Moon Fort, the best goal-defence was Joanna Atkins of Vauxhall and Tamarah Hoyte was the best goalkeeper representing St Giles.