St Ann Orchids -Berger Elite League netball

Defending champions St Ann Orchids strengthened their chances of making the four-team play-offs in Netball Jamaica’s Berger Elite League with a 37-31 win over Clarendon Gaters at Leila Robinson Courts, National Stadium complex, on Tuesday night.

Victory lifted the Orchids to nine points, while the Gaters flapped yet again to suffer their fifth consecutive defeat, as they remain the only team without a win in this season’s six-team championship.

Orchids coach Janet Guy switched her shooting combination for most of the game from Thristina Harwood and Rebekah Robinson, with Simone Gordon playing as the main shooter. Gordon showed her capabilities with a game-high 26 goals from 35 tries, while Harwood, with six goals from 10 attempts and Robinson, five from eight, contributed the other goals.

For the Clarendon Gaters, Shedeiky Hamilton-Barnes was their top shooter, scoring 22 goals from 27 tries, while Shadian Hemmings, seven goals from 13 attempts and Melisha Josephs, two from three, netted the other goals.

Also improving their chances were St Catherine Racers, who moved to six points and fourth after beating St James Sharpes 48-38 in the opening contest of the day. Both teams entered the contest with three points, garnered from one win apiece in four previous matches.

Tracy-Ann Francis led the Racers with 36 goals from 42 attempts, with the other goals coming from Shanice Howe, who scored nine of 10 tries and Kestina Sturridge, three from six.

The Sharpes, who were playing their third match, shot very well but had difficulty getting the ball to their shooters. Simone Forbes, the former national shooter, was perfect with 18 goals from 18 tries, while her back-up support from Jodi-Ann French-Kentish, 16 goals from 19 tries and Deneen Taylor, four from six, weren’t bad either.

Meanwhile, the competition continues today with red-hot Manchester Spurs and Kingston Hummingbirds, the joint leaders, on court.

The Connie Francis-coached Spurs, who have won all four matches to score 12 points, will face St Catherine Racers in the opening game at 6:00 pm. The Spurs had won the first-round contest 41-37.

For the feature encounter, set to begin at 7:30 pm, the Marvette Anderson-coached Kingston Hummingbirds will face St James Sharpes. The Hummingbirds also have 12 points, but have played one more match than the Spurs.