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Jamalco nets seventh title with late flourish
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Winston Nevers, coach of Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) Berger Paints Super League champions Jamalco, said teamwork and careful planning was key to his team winning this year's championship title.
Jamalco secured their seventh consecutive hold on the trophy with an exciting 44-42 victory over Waulgrovians 'A' in the final game of their best-of-three series on Monday night at the Leila Robinson Courts to register a come-from-behind 2-1 series win.
Former national player Elaine Davis led Jamalco with 32 goals from 40 attempts. Captain Marsha Murphy added 12 goals from 15 tries.
Simone Forbes, with 27 goals from 22 attempts and Christina Solmon, who shot a perfect 19 goals from 19 tries, were the scorers for Waulgrovians.
"It was an excellent game because from Saturday we planned to rotate our players and the player that they were looking for tonight (Monday), they didn't saw that player and so I think that threw off their game plan," said Nevers.
Nevers said he was always confident his players would rise to the occasion when it mattered most.
"I was very nervous in the last part of the game," he said. "However, I had a lot confidence in the defensive area and I also had a lot of confidence in Elaine Davis because our players are very experienced, and when we went up by two goals they were able keep the ball away from them and this helped us to come out victorious."
Playing in front of a capacity crowd, Jamalco dominated the opening quarter as they quickly sped to an 11-8 lead.
In the second period, both teams traded baskets and Jamalco led 22-19 at half-time.
However, Waulgrovians, led by national representative Christina Solmon's six straight goals, came out firing in the third period as they outscored their opponents 15-10 to take a 34-32 lead at the end of the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Waulgrovians quickly established a 38-33 lead with six minutes remaining. However, Jamalco held their nerves as they rallied strongly, capitalising on a number of crucial turnovers by their opponents down the stretch to clinch the game.
"In the last part of the game, when they were leading us by five goals, I told the players that five goals in netball can't win games with three minutes to go because we can clear that within seconds, and so our defence stood up and we were able to rally to win the game," said a delightful Nevers, whose Clarendon-based team collected the championship trophy and $180,000 for their efforts.
Meanwhile, Patrick Brissett, coach of Waulgrovians, who last won the title in 2002, said: "I think that our players wanted it but I think that over anxiety and turnovers let us down.
"I think that we made the turnovers at the wrong time and they were silly turnovers," Brissett added.
Waulgrovians took home the runners-up trophy and $120,000, while Windalco collected the third-place title and $60,000, after beating Tivoli Gardens in the play-off on Saturday.
Jamalco's centre Nadine Bryan was voted the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the competition.