THE organisation on the opening day of the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Championships was at best amateurish, and bordered on an international embarrassment. Confusion reigned. Fortunately, Team Trinidad and Tobago saved a bad start to the tournament when comprehensively defeating a young and inexperienced Guyanese team 104-10 at the Jean Pierre Complex in Port of Spain, in their opening match of the nine-team tournament, on Saturday.
T&T goal shoot Anastasia Wilson dominated the court and scored 88 goals from 99 attempts against the Guyanese, while goal attack Joelisa Cooper scored 11 of 12 attempts, and substitute goal attack Janelle Barker netted five of eight attempts. Angeline McCarthy was Guyana's most prolific scorer with eight of 10 attempts, while goal attack Rennee Anderson and goal shoot Shonelle Eswick scored one goal each.
Later, there was an equally one-sided 104-13 victory for Barbados over Bermuda, and Jamaica destroyed St Lucia 72-31.
The tournament's opening match saw United States survive a third-quarter Grenada surge to win 41-37. The Americans were well in command at 15-1 in the first quarter, before Grenada surged to draw level at 28-28 during the third. However, the Grenadians had nothing left for the final stages of the match.
The wide margin of victory for hosts T&T was the high point on an opening night of lows that saw those who packed the indoor court till there were no empty seats shifted to the outdoor courts, and hours later shifted back inside when the wet outdoor courts were finally deemed unfit for play. Some left disgusted, while many chanted: "Start the match now". The crowd included 1976 Olympic gold medallist Hasely Crawford and West Indies batting star Shivnarine Chanderpaul.
Eventually, the second match on the schedule, between USA and Grenada, began first. And approximately three hours later, T&T, originally scheduled to open the tournament, took to the court.
Without looking world beaters, the "Calypso Netballers" were always in command against Guyana, who had not played at this level for some time.
Most of the Guyanese were too young, too inexperienced and simply too short to compete. At just about five feet, five inches, the two Guyanese goalkeepers used on the night could not stop six-footer Wilson.
T&T scored 15 goals before Guyana got their first nine minutes into the first quarter, which ended 24-1. T&T led 48-4 at the half, and 77-7 after three quarters, before completing the 94-goal victory.