Fire Service netballers literally left all other challengers in their dust, marching away with the best team on parade in the opening ceremony of the Lystra Lewis Port-of-Spain Netball League (LLPOSNL) on Saturday at the Jean Pierre Complex in Mucurapo.
In their routine in the traditional March Past competition, the Fire marchers dressed in their red, white and black outfits uniformly released a white powdery substance into the air during their formation. This awed the audience encouraging loud applause as they made their salute to T&T Netball Association president Dr Pat Butcher, LLPOSNL president Debbie Ann Francois and Courts All Sectors Netball League's (ASNL) Brenda Prince.
Fire tallied 154 points to narrowly beat second-place Mucurapo Ex-Pupils, who did their familiar routine to earn 152 to beat Bon Air WH into third with 149 in a competition that had all 19 clubs that will be competing in the historic 80th edition of the LLPOSNL.
An honour which was praised by TTNA president Butcher in wishing a productive year in the oldest existing netball league in the country.
"The Courts ASNL has just completed a very successful season and I look forward to another successful season by the LLPOSNL as they grow and develop the sport of netball in T&T," said Butcher, who used the opportunity to praise the Under-16 netball team for their second-place finish in the recent Caribbean Netball Association's Jean Pierre Youth Championship in Antigua.
She highlighted the staff of the team including coach Velma Hazelwood, assistant coach Lystra Solomon-Simmons, manager Coreen David and trainer Sojourner Hyles.
She also mentioned the senior national which is currently in preparation for the upcoming Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.
In other awards handed out, Nayo Anchan-Sylvester stood out in her brightly-coloured outfit with a floral top and flowy yellow skirt, was adjudged the queen of the parade and Mucurapo Ex-Pupils won the best flag.
LLPOSNL president Francois in her short address encouraged healthy competition in the each of the four divisions - First, Second, Third and Kiwis.
Teams in the top division got their first taste of competition with a new twist, following the opening function.
Defence Force boosted by it's new inclusion to the team, men's players Kerry McMillan and Kensley Sandy won the First Division knockout title. Led by goal-shooter Jameela McCarthy, the army/ coast guard defeated Metal Industries Company (MIC), 15-2, in the final. Each team in the First Division only is allowed to use two men's players in the centre-court area solely.
Earlier, the gathering was treated to performances from three stars of this year's Carnival celebrations including Calypso Monarch and Young King Ronaldo London, performing his winning contribution "Man's Imagination", his brother Rivaldo, the junior Calypso Monarch, who sang "My Purpose" and the energetic Swappi (Martin Davis), singing his release Doi Doi, prancing across the decaying netball court.