Goal-shooter Joelisa Cooper and goal-attack Kalifa McCollin were supreme under the ring to lead defending champion in the Premiership Division, Fire Service, to a cool 50-35 victory over Defence Force in the Courts All Sectors Netball League.
This was in the last of five matches played on Saturday evening at the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena in Tacarigua when teams in bot the top category and the Championship Division opened competition in the 30th edition of the league.
Both shooters shot with accuracy above 95 per cent with former national senior captain Cooper netting 26 goals from 27 attempts and McCollin, who is heading to New Zealand to continue her professional career, to help Fire successfully open the defence of its Premiership title.
Despite having a shaky start trailing at the end of the first quarter 13-8, the firewomen rebounded in the second session to take the lead at halftime, 22-19.
On the other end, led by national player Jameela McCarthy (21/28) and former T&T shooter Anastascia Wilson (14/20), the army/coastguard combination unit fought hard to stay in contention in the third period but Fire continued to blaze and pushed further ahead to hold a 34-26 advantage, heading into the fourth quarter.
Play remained in favour of Fire, which went on to outscore its opponent, 16-9 to seal the comfortable 15-goal victory.
Earlier in the other match in the premier division, goal-keeper Kielle Connelly and goal-defence Anika La Roche subdued the Kelelicia George-led attack with an intensity that lifted the whole side in the clash of the Police teams. The defensive duo's efforts lead Police X to a 36-31 win over its "Y" team in the see-saw match.
Police X held a narrow lead in the first 9-8 until Police Y edged ahead with a 15-14 advantage. However, the X team reclaimed the lead and moved away by six goals (26-20) in the third before closing out the five-goal win.
Goal-shooter Jillisa Allan scored the bulk of the winning team's goals producing 28 off 37 while national youth captain George was best for Police Y with 20 in 28 tries.
The action continues today with a triple-header in the Alternative Division. The first pass is at 5.30 pm.
Defence Force 35 (Anastascia Wilson 14/20, Jameela McCarthy 21/28) vs Fire 50 (Joelisa Cooper 26/27, Kalifa McCollin 24/25). Quarter scores: 1st. 13-8 (D Force), 2nd. 22-19 (Fire), 3rd. 34-26 (Fire).
Police X 36 (Jillisa Allan 28/37, Jeselle Navarro 7/11, Gurshier Grant 1/1) vs Police Y 31 (Tahirah Hollingsworth 11/27, Kelelicia George 20/28). Quarter scores: 1st. 9-8 (Police X), 2nd. 15-14 (Police Y), 3rd. 26-20 (Police X).
Defence Force 23 (Melissa Snaggs 6/13, Makeda Pierre 10/25, Sojourner Hyles-Lewis 7/12) vs UTC 41 (Crystal Noel-Cockburn 12/20, Avi-Ann Archie 12/14, Debra Superville 12/15, Liliah Matthews 5/10). Quarter scores: 1st. 10-4, 2nd. 22-11, 3rd. 32-17 (UTC).
Jabloteh 44 (La Toya Thomas 37/54, Giselle Hobson 7/15) vs Police X 36 (Raquel Russell 23/39, Donessa Wickham 8/14, Lystra Solomon-Siimmons 5/5). Quarter scores: 1st. 9-7 (Police X), 2nd. 19-18 (Police X), 3rd. 29-27 (Jabloteh).
Fire Lee Ann O'Brien 14/29, Pearl St John 16/27, Ayanna Peters 4/9) vs UTT 31 (Cameisha Leslie 24/32, Aaliyah Modeste 7/16, Akilah Francis 0/0). Quarter scores: 1st. 11-6, 2nd. 20-12, 3rd. 27-22 (All in favour of Fire).
Police Y vs MIC Tigers, 5.30 pm
Police X vs Jabloteh, 6.20 pm
TT Post vs USC, 7.10 pm