Trinidad and Tobago's netballers will hope to have their top-scorer Anastasia Wilson fit and ready to play when they face their toughest test yet at the 2012 Americas Federation Netball Association (AFNA) Senior Netball Championships against the youthful and energetic Barbados team from 5.45 p.m. this evening at the Jean Pierre Complex, Port of Spain.
Hosts T&T have won their first five matches and were also expected to beat the United States last night in their sixth match. Likewise, the Bajans also opened with five victories, but would have faced a tough task last evening against tournament favourites Jamaica.
The "Calypso Girls" need to beat Barbados tonight, before ending the tournament tomorrow night with a likely title-deciding match against the No 4 world-ranked Jamaicans.
On Wednesday, T&T were just about to complete a fifth straight victory when trouble struck with 36 seconds left in play. Goal-shoot Wilson had just put in her 34th goal on the night from 49 attempts when she stepped on the foot of St Lucian goalkeeper Judie Mathurin and ended the game wriggling in pain.
The Calypso Girls completed a comfortable 63-28 victory over the St Lucians, but the injury left doubts about the fitness of Wilson with these two big matches coming up. Trinidad and Tobago were already without their other heavy scorer and goal-attack Joelisa Cooper, who sat out the match with a knee injury sustained the night before. The plan was to rest Wilson last night against the USA and hopefully have both her and Cooper back to face Barbados.
"Anastasia has no broken bones or serious damaged tissue," declared team manager Vanessa Forde. "She just has a badly twisted ankle. We are icing it and likely to rest her a bit."
Prior to her injury, Wilson was once again T&T's dominant goal-scoring force against St Lucia, who were competitive throughout the match. Early on, the home side trailed for the first time in the tournament as St Lucia matched them goal for goal. But by the end of the first quarter, T&T led 16-7 and kept ahead for the rest of the match.
The lead expanded to 30-16 at the half and 50-22 after three quarters. Given more playing time with the injury to Cooper, young goal-attack Jellene Richardson stepped up big time by scoring 29 goals from 32 attempts. Kimfer Phillip again gave T&T a defensive sparkle from the goal-keeper position and won loud applause for her hustle.
For the St Lucian team, goal-attack Shem Maxwell contributed 12 of 16 attempts. On the night, Barbados also won 90-19 over Grenada, USA stopped Guyana 82-25 and Canada held off Bermuda 49-31 in a closely-contested affair.
WEDNESDAY'S AFNA RESULTS:
• Trinidad & Tobago 63, St Lucia 28
• USA 82, Guyana 25
• Barbados 90, Grenada 19
• Canada 49, Bermuda 31
• 9 a.m. - Bermuda v Jamaica, Court 1
• 5.30 p.m. - St. Lucia Grenada, Court 1
• 5.45 p.m. - Barbados v Trinidad & Tobago, Court 2
• 6 p.m. - Guyana v Canada Jean Pierre Court 3
• 6.30 p.m. - United States v Jamaica, Court 1
• 9 p.m. - Guyana v Grenada, Court
• 5.30 p.m. - Canada v United States, Court
• 5.45 p.m. - Barbados v St Lucia, Court 2
• 6 p.m. - Guyana v Bermuda, Court 3
• 6.30 p.m. - Trinidad & Tobago v Jamaica, Court 1