The atmosphere was tensed but yet filled with excitement, noise and jubilation, as the Under 23 Netball Team of St. Kitts, completed its campaign at the 2011 ECCB sponsored sub-regional tournament as the only undefeated team of the competition.
The home team came up against defending champions Grenada, in what was the final game of the tournament, on Wednesday night, (6th July, 2011), at the Pam Tyson Netball Complex, at the Warner Park Stadium.
It was always billed to be a keen contest and the two teams did not disappoint, because from the first whistle, Grenada and St. Kitts kept the huge crowd on its feet, with the scores constantly being tied, as the quarters progressed and the minutes kept counting down.
Both teams exhibited the highest levels of team work, skills and determination to bring home the gold, but all the effort from both sides, only resulted in close scores and no team being able to create a lasting lead. However, Grenada managed to secure marginal leads in the first three quarters, with scores at 10-9; 21-19; 33-30. However, St. Kitts came out with a greater sense of purpose in the final quarter, exchanging the lead with Grenada and with less than 10 seconds remaining, missed a chance to take the winning lead when the final whistle came, trapping both teams, tied 40-40.
With the tied game, St. Kitts was declared champions, given that they were the only team not to have lost a game in the entire tournament. Grenada registered its only lost to St. Vincent the day before, on Tuesday, thereby carving a much smoother road for St. Kitts, who still would have secured the championship, even if they had lost to Grenada in that final match. Due to goal differences, Grenada would have had to defeat St. Kitts by over 60 points to retain the championship. This of course was an impossible dream, given the strength and abilities of St. Kitts.
In addition to being declared overall champions for 2011, St. Kitts also won the awards for Best Attacking Team, with 337 goals scored in the tournament; Best Defensive Team, with only 135 goals being scored against them.
The home team was impressive in just about every department during the championships, and this resulted in Talissa Brown being declared Best Defensive Player; Ronelle Morton Most Accurate Shooter, with an average of 84%, scoring some 189 goals from 225 attempts.
St. Kitts’ Keirish Richardson was another shining star, having won the award for Best Centre Court Player, though being slightly injured during the contest.
The Most Valuable Players for the respective teams were:
Anguilla Jackeedah Bryan
Dominica Curina John
Grenada Shirlyn Lewis
Nevis Sasha Liburd
St. Kitts Talissa Brown
St. Lucia Jarmala Augustin
St. Vincent Delonie Sam
The Most Improved Team of the tournament was Anguilla.
The final positions of the teams saw St. Kitts as Champions (11 points), with St. Vincent & the Grenadines Second (10 points) and Grenada Third (9 points).
St. Lucia placed 4th with 5 points with a goal difference of 21, followed by Dominica in 5th position, also on 5 points but with a goal difference of -8, Anguilla placed 6th with 2 points and Nevis 7th with 0 points.
St. Lucia won the trophy for the Most Disciplined Team.
Included in the hundreds that turned out for the finals, were Governor General Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Prime Minister Denzil Douglas, Deputy Prime Minister, Sam Condor, Speaker of the National Assembly Curtis Martin, Minister of Sport Glenn Phillip, Minister of Health & Gender Affairs-and former national netball star, Marcella Liburd and Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, main sponsors of the tournament, Sir Dwight Venner.