Gaynstead capture INSPORTS Challenge Cup
BY GERALD REID
GAYNSTEAD High were crowned champions of the inaugural Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) Challenge Cup High School Netball Championship after defeating St Catherine High 39-37 in the thrilling finale at the National Arena on Friday.
For Gaynstead, goal shooter Amanda Pickney scored 28 goals from 33 attempts, while her opposite number Tahlice Redwood scored 28 goals from 32 attempts for St Catherine.
It was Gaynstead's second title as they previously won the urban area section on goal average ahead of St Catherine and Norman Manley after the three teams had identical points at the end of the preliminary round.
Both schools had reached all-island final by winning their respective semi-finals played at the Manchester High court last Wednesday. Gaynstead defeated rural area runners-up Manchester High 40-23, while urban area runners-up St Catherine narrowly got the better of rural area winners May Day High 34-32.
In addition to the all-island title, Gaynstead walked away with cash award of $100,000, while beaten finalists St Catherine took home $75,000.
May Day defeated Manchester High 44-24 to claim third place. May Day High collected $50,000, with Manchester High receiving $30,000 for their effort. The MVP of the final went to Gaynstead's wing attack Latavia Spence who received a trophy and a cash award.
All participating teams received a cash award of $20,000, while the teams who were added to the Rally each received $15,000.
Dalton Hinds, coach of Gaynstead, credited his team for winning the championship.
“It was a good game for both teams, but Gaynstead showed little more as they produced good defence and good shootings; that's why they won. It was quite an intense game as the team was not at its best,” Hinds said.
Phyllis Thompson, coach of St Catherine, was a bit disappointed because she felt her team wasted a number of scoring opportunities wasted near the end.
“St Catherine could have won the game if these chances were scored, as in the last four minutes we were leading by two goals 34-32. We also missed our main goal defence player as she was currently involved in a summer camp and was unable to play. However, it was a very competitive game and the players did very well as it could have gone either way,” Thompson said.
Sports Minister Olivia Grange congratulated champions Gaynstead and all other participating schools.
“INSPORTS mandate is always to unearth and nurture talents, and this competition has allowed the players and teams to prepare themselves for next month's ISSA Urban and Rural Areas High School netball competitions, and I am very proud of you all,” Grange said.