Excelsior, Holmwood to contest AFNA Caribbean Champion of Champions final today

Observer writer

Saturday, July 21, 2018

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EXCELSIOR High and Holmwood Technical High School, both of Jamaica, will contest the final of the inaugural AFNA Caribbean Champion of Champions High School Netball Tournament, following semi-final wins at the Leila Robinson Courts yesterday.

The final is scheduled to be played today at the same venue, starting at 5:00 pm.

Excelsior reached today's final by defeating a spirited Christ Church Foundation School from Barbados 61-42, while Holmwood easily defeated Springer Memorial School from Barbados in a one-sided affair 45-14.

The Excelsior and Holmwood showdown will be a repeat of last year's ISSA All-Island Senior League final in which the Mountain View Avenue-based Excelsior defeated Manchester-based Holmwood in the play-off by nine goals.

Coaches Christopher Smart of Excelsior and Karlene Graham-Powell from Holmwood are confident of winning the first staging of this Caribbean High Schools Champion of Champions Netball title.

Smart said the semi-final against Christ Church was a good match as the opposition proved very competitive, especially in the first half.

“They gave us a good fight, as we were down at the end of the first quarter. I did not start a strong defence line in that first quarter as I decided to rest two defence players as both were nursing injuries — and that allowed our opponents to have the better of play.”

The dominance of the Jamaican schools did not surprise him either.

“I was not too surprised, as I had anticipated before the tournament started that both Jamaican schools would reach the final as we are better than our overseas opponents,” he said.

Smart said Excelsior's semi-final match was much more competitive than Holmwood, who he believed got weaker opponents to play. “I notice also that Holmwood made a lot of mistakes in that match, and I am confident that Excelsior will come out victorious in the final.”

Meanwhile, Graham-Powell said she was looking forward to another big clash with Excelsior.

“I thought our semi-final against Springer Memorial would have been much tougher after seeing the opposition in training, but I am grateful for the win and I'm also confident going in to the final.”

In Excelsior's win over Christ Church Foundation, goal attack Hasana Williams led the scoring with 44 goals from 55 attempts, while goal shooter Racoya Douglas scored 17 goals from 25 attempts.

Goal shooter Chiara Chase scored 19 goals from 25 attempts and goal attack Brianna Holder added 13 goals from 17 attempts for the losers. Excelsior trailed 11-12 after the first quarter but led 29-20 at half-time, and 47-27 at the end of the third quarter.

In the other game, goal shooter Shadine Bartley scored 27 goals from 32 attempts and Alliah Lue added 18 goals from 21 attempts for Holmwood Technical. They led 11-2, 24-5 and 36-10 after three quarters.

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