Following a brief opening ceremony, action in the inaugural Americas Netball Championships got underway at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex this evening with St. Vincent and the Grenadines winning their first match 33 – 27.
Following a tight first quarter, Host SVG pulled away 23-10 in the second quarter, to then lead 28-19 in the third quarter before seeing off their Grenadian counterparts after a much more competitive and physical final quarter.
The national male team used their height dominance to good advantage in the first half of the game using long passes from the centre of the court into their goal shooter and goal keeper.
A strategic move by SVG to bring on Moet Gaymes as Centre in the second quarter quickly paid dividends as he showed his professionalism by deliberately slowing down the passes to stop a series of turnovers which occurred in the first quarter. Akeil Matthews who started as centre in the first quarter played more confidently in the Wing Attack position in the second quarter.
However, in the third and fourth quarters, the Grenadians used bounce passes to good effect into their goal shooter who was clinical throughout the match. Playing a tighter and sometimes more physical game, the Grenada team outscored SVG 9 – 5 in the third quarter and 8 – 5 in the fourth quarter but failed to overcome the lead that SVG built up in the second quarter.
Veteran netballer Skiddy Francis-Crick who was commentating for the Championships noted that SVG lost their composure in the centre of the court during the third and fourth quarters and at times were unable to find their players. The SVG team also lost their dominance in the air as they struggled to keep the ball in court and their footwork in check.
The other participating teams are: Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica and South Africa. The tournament will run from September 1 – 4 with all matches taking place at the Arnos Vale Sporting Complex.