DENBIGH High ruled supreme yesterday in rural schoolgirl netball, twice overcoming Holmwood Technical to deliver a double blow to their opponents by winning both the junior and senior titles at Manchester High School. The wins mean they will face urban champions Gaynstead in Friday's all-island final at the Leila Robinson Courts. In a cliffhanger, Denbigh outlasted Holmwood Technical 18-17 in junior action before winning 40-36 in the seniors to dethrone the defending champions. Head coach Janice Walker was clearly elated with the double success.
"I am extremely happy for the girls as we came into the finals with great expectations, and both teams delivered. They followed instructions and executed very well, and this is a good legacy for the school to build on. This was the third time Denbigh were winning the double but their first with Walker at the helm. The coach is now looking forward to the all-island final tomorrow.
"I am looking forward to the clash with Gaynstead. I know they have good teams, and so do Denbigh, and it will be the teams who make the least mistakes on the day that will win, but we are very confident of going all the way," said Walker.
In the junior encounter, defending champions Denbigh were behind Holmwood in the early exchanges as the team from Manchester led 3-2 after the first quarter and 10-7 at the half-time break. They outscored Holmwood 8-5 in the third quarter to tie the scores at 15-15 at the break. Holmwood had a two-goal lead with less than three minutes to go in the final quarter, but careless turnovers helped Denbigh back into the game with them going on to win their second straight title. Goal shooter Marie Smith, with 14 goals from 24 attempts, top-scored for Denbigh, while Stacy McKenzie, playing the goal shooting role for Holmwood, top-scored with nine from 10.
A highly motivated Denbigh senior team took to the court hell-bent on unseating the champions. They made their intentions clear as they raced into a commanding 15-2 lead after the first quarter with goal shooter Denay Thomas and goal attack Talayia Hunter showing merciless accuracy for the Clarendon-based team.
The slow-starting Holmwood got into their strides in the second quarter as Denbigh took a 23-12 lead into the half-time break.
Holmwood Technical rallied in the third quarter and brought themselves back in the game, outscoring their opponents 11-5 to narrow the gap to five goals, with Denbigh leading 28-23 going into the final quarter.
In Friday's all-island final at 3:00 p.m., defending champions Denbigh will go up against Gaynstead in the juniors while at 4:00 p.m., a new senior champion will be crowned when both schools again clash.