Joelisa Cooper

Joelisa Cooper

Goal-attack Joelisa Cooper produced a near flawless shooting performance as defending champions Fire installed themselves as firm favourites to retain the Premier Division league title in the 2020 edition of the Courts All Sectors Netball League on Saturday.

Playing in the final fixture of a five-game programme at the Eastern Indoor Sports Facility at Tacarigua, Fire blew away Police X by a ridiculous 53-goal margin to complete a first-round sweep of their rivals in the league’s highest tier.

Fire were in control throughout the contest, opening up a 24-9 gap in just the first quarter and extending the lead to 30 (42-12) at the half. By the end of the third, they had tripled Police X’s tally (60-20) before running out 79-26 winners.

Cooper almost notched a half-century, converting 46 of her 49 attempts while goal-shoot Afeisha Noel sent in 32 of her 44 tries. Jillisa Allan went 20 of 31 for Police X but the Fire defence was very effective against her co-shoots, Jeselle Navarro and Anika la Roche-Brice, who each managed just three from six.

Earlier, Defence Force had to come from behind to defeat Police Y 38-27 and take hold of second place with two wins from three outings. Police Y led 9-7 after the opening quarter but the army women rallied to be level (18-18) at the half. They then forged ahead 26-24 after three and never looked back.

Former national team shoot Anastascia Wilson and goal-attack Jameela McCarthy returned identical scores of 19 from 35 for the army while Police Y shoots, Tiana Dillon (13/23) and Tahira Hollingsworth (13/24), also went virtually toe-to-toe with each other.

In the Championship, UTC (Unit Trust Corporation) made their intentions clear when they defeated 2019 winners Bermudez 40-38. The victory margin was narrow but UTC led throughout. Liliah Matthews (21/33) and Avi-Ann Archie (18/23) were the chief scorers while Makeda De Freitas’ game-high 26/36 for Bermudez was all in vain.

Also in the Championship, Police X handed Defence Force a 41-27 defeat behind Raquel Russell’s 30 goals from 44 tries. Makeda Pierre (14/28) was the best of three army shoots.

And Open Campus (UWI) scored a 47-16 rout of Police Y to keep pace with UTC. The prolific Shaniya Morgan fired in 35 goals from her 41 attempts as they romped to their second win from as many games.

Action resumes at the Tacarigua venue today at 5.30 p.m. when there will be two Retro Division games and one Jean Pierre Challenge (knockout) fixture.