Hummingbirds start title defence with narrow win

By Netball Jamaica November 14, 2018

Kingston Hummingbirds’ battling qualities saw them pull off a thrilling 47-45 victory over St. Ann Orchids in Tuesday night’s opening game of the Berger Elite League at Kingston’s Leila Robinson Courts.

Sabrina Spence shot a game-high 37 points from 46 attempts and was most accurate in the decisive third quarter when the Hummingbirds outscored the Orchids 16-8. During the run, the Orchids surrendered a 22-20 half-time lead to trail by six at 30-36.

Hasana Williams, on 10 of 13 shooting, netted the Hummingbirds’ other goals.

Simone Gordon led the Orchids’ shooting with 17 goals from 21 tries, while Thristina Harwood scored 15 from 18 and Rebekah Robinson 13 from 18.

“The fight that the Hummingbirds had from last year took us through to this one (win),” said assistant coach Roy Pryce.

 “I feel elated because today is the first that this group of players is coming together. We have some new players and we have a new coach. We haven’t trained so the fact that we came out and started with a win (is good).

“St. Ann Orchids is a fierce competitor and they did push us to the limit, but at the end of the day we came out victorious and we’re happy for that.”

Spence was equally elated that she was able to propel the team to an opening night victory.

 “I’m proud of myself and I’m also proud of my team. I’ve to give myself some credit for being out of netball for so long and then come back and not do too bad,” Spence said. “I’m grateful for that, knowing that we’re the defending champions and we’re the team that is supposed to open the league and we opened it with a victory. That’s an ‘A-plus for us.”

At one point in the final quarter, the Hummingbirds who were playing without their injured leader and shooting ace Shanice Beckford appeared to be running away with the game with an eight-point lead.

However, the Orchids, aided by accurate shooting from Gordon and solid defending led by Captain Vangelee Williams fought back fiercely and twice had the chance to tie the game at 46.

“I think that when they went on a run the girls did not drop their shoulders, they fought right throughout and Shanice was on the bench, even though she wasn’t able to play she was motivating the players, she was talking to them, so that gave us the little push to continue,” said Pryce.

Despite the valiant fightback unforced errors plagued the Orchids at critical times and ultimately cost them the game.

 “We can take some positives like how we finished the quarter15-11. If we can maintain that throughout the game imagine what we can do,” said Williams, whose team was missing national defender Staciann Facey, who leaves later this year for Glasgow.

Coach Janet Guy expressed optimism.

“I really don’t feel disappointed. It’s the first time we’re coming together as a unit,” she said, explaining that inclement weather and the availability of players limited the opportunities for the team to train together.

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