Orchids vs. Spurs, The Battle For Number 1

Defending champions St Ann Orchids will try to wrestle the number one position from Manchester Spurs when the final set of games are played this evening in Netball Jamaica’s Berger Elite League.

Both teams won on Friday to keep the race open, with Manchester Spurs hammering Clarendon Gaters 69-40 to complete their 10-game fixtures on 24 points.

St Ann Orchids then turned back St James Sharpes 50-42 to move to 21 points and can join the leaders with a win this evening.

The Orchids will face St Catherine Racers in this evening’s opening game at 5:00 pm, while Clarendon Gaters will battle St James Sharpes in the feature encounter, which is scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm.

What makes the matches more interesting is that St Catherine Racers, St James Sharpes and Clarendon Gaters are battling for the fourth and final spot in the play-offs.

St Catherine Racers hold pole position with nine points, having won three matches in nine tries, while Clarendon Gaters and St James Sharpes both have six points from two wins.

If there is a tie, goal average will decide the fourth-place finisher.

The same applies for first position, wherein goal average will be used as tiebreaker if the top two end with 24 points.

Winning the preliminaries is key for either team as they will face the fourth-place finisher in one of Tuesday’s semi-final play-offs. The other semi-final will feature the second- and third-placed teams, and that appears a tougher challenge given the manner in which the top three have dominated the league.

Kingston Hummingbirds have already secured third, with 18 points.

Anna-Kay Griffiths led the Spurs in scoring on Friday, netting 33 goals from 41 attempts, while Giselle Allison, with 28 from 39, and Petal Smith, with a perfect eight, accounted for the other goals.

For Clarendon Gaters, Shedeiky Hamilton-Barnes was the top scorer with 15 goals from 21 tries, while Shadian Hemmings, 14 from 21, and Melisha Josephs, 11 from 18, netted the other goals.

The loss cut a two-game win streak for the Gaters and dented their hopes of qualifying for the play-offs.

St James Sharpes’ chances of making the play-offs were dealt an equally big blow in their loss to the Orchids.

Simone Gordon scored most goals for the winners, 34 from 41, while Rebekah Robinson, 13 of 18, and Thristina Harwood, three of four, were the other scorers.

For St James Sharpes, Simone Forbes scored 31 of 41 attempts, Deneen Taylor 10 of 15, and Jody-Ann French-Kentish one from two tries.