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Maple bloom and take it all in national netball

Maple bloom and take it all in national netball

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If there was ever a fitting way to close off a netball tournament, then the events which unfolded last Thursday night at the Kingstown Netball Centre certainly fit the bill.{{more}}

And, who better to be the main players, than arch-rivals Vita Malt Maple and Western Union Mitres, as they went in search of the Division One Knockout title of the LIME national club tournament.

An exciting 54-54 tie in the league encounter a few weeks ago, still vivid in the minds of spectators and players alike, made the prospects all the more appealing.

It was a ding-dong tussle from the first whistle, with Mitres leading the first and second quarters at 15-13 and 30-26 respectively.

The experienced Maple, however, made some tactical changes, as Debbie Jordan was switched from Centre to Wing Attack, changing positions with Janet Toney. They also resorted to slowing down the match against the more energetic Mitres outfit, and this paid dividends, as they were able to restore parity at 41, with the third quarter ending locked 42 apiece.

Mitres responded with the insertion of Dellarice Duncan in place of Maxine James, as the last quarter was characterised by a bartering of goals.

The match went down the wire as excitement grew and both camps nervously cheered on their teams.

With seconds on the clock and the scores at 58-57 in Maple’s favour, Mitres goal shoot Gailene Gordon floored a crucial pass in the circle, which, in effect, spoiled Mitres’ chances of sending the match into extra time.

An eruption of applause came from the small segment of supporters for Maple, as the more vocal Mitres’ cheerleaders were numbed at seeing their team finishing the 2013 tournament with neither the league nor knockout trophies.

But it was another line of titles for Maple, who are celebrating 62 years of existence this year.

Skiddy Francis Crick, who has been with Maple for the past 28 years, was again her usual accurate and tactical self, as she netted 52 from 54 attempts, and the similarly evergreen Thelma Foster, registered 6 from 8.

For Mitres, Gailene Gordon poured in 42 from 44 and Shellisa Davis had 15 from 24.

Maple had won the league competition on goal differential, thus dethroning Mitres, the 2012 champion.

The only consolation for Mitres for the 2013 edition was their capture of the team and individual accolades of the shooting competition, which was contested last Wednesday.

Mitres won the team title, scoring 102 of 136, ahead of Vita Malt Maple’s 100 of 125, and French Verandah X-Ceed’s 87 out of 113.

Gordon outdid the Maple duo of Foster and Francis Crick in that order in the individual contest. Gordon registered 62 from 74; Foster – 51 from 61 and Francis Crick– 49 from 64.

The presentation ceremony is set for June 22.(RT)

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