TSTT goal-attack Kanika Paul-Payne scored as much as the opponent, Police X, to see her team to a 32-22 win to earn the right to play for fifth place in the Championship Division of the Courts All Sectors Netball League.
On Tuesday evening at the Centre of Excellence in Macoya, Tunapuna, Paul-Payne was comfortable enough in her new environment to net 22 goals from 32 attempts to lead the Grace Parkinson-Griffith-coached TSTT to victory.
Due to the proximity of the original venue, Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena in Tacarigua to the National Racquet Centre, which is being used as a national quarantine facility during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the league will be completing its 30th edition of the league at the Centre of Excellence.
The win by TSTT as well as the remaining season is being dedicated to their late teammate Sophia Harper, who passed away from cancer earlier in the season. To continue to celebrate the life of the former netballer, the team took to the court dressed in an entirely new playing attire.
"After she was laid to rest, closure took effect and the team gave our netball chant - 'Chooko choo, Chooko choo TSTT' - and the decision to carry the memory of her through to the rest of our games," said Parkinson-Griffith. "To do that, we changed our entire uniform to a black T-shirt with a picture of her in one of our past netball uniforms. We felt that we should still have the feel of her spirt with us. Sophia was a die-hard netballer with TSTT and she was instrumental in our chant."
They certainly would have made their late teammate proud, leading from the first pass, with quarter scores of 9-2 in the first, 16-7 at the half and in the third, 23-17. Helping Paul-Payne in the circle was initially Jocelyn Marcelle (2/5) as goal-shooter before she was replaced by Candace Gibbs (8/19).
Goal-attack Donessa Wickham with 13 of 21 scored the bulk of the goals for Police X, which will now compete for seventh place against the University of T&T (UTT) at 5.30 pm today. The UTT team was one of three teams forfeiting their matches on Monday, the day the league resumed after the COVID-19 lockdown. Jabloteh won that match by default and will take on TSTT for the fifth spot in the Championship Division today from 6.45 pm.
The other forfeitures took place in the Retro Division. Both Police X and TSTT won as well, respectively against Jabloteh, who turned up short and Police Y, whose players did not show up.
In the later match on Tuesday, Defence Force led by Melissa Snaggs (21/29) defeated Police Y, 35-14, to place ninth in the ten-team competition.
Police X 22 (Racquel Russell 5/11, Donessa Wickham 13/21, Kaysha Duncan 4/13) vs TSTT 32 (Jocelyn Marcelle 2/5, Kanika Paul-Payne 22/32, Candace Gibbs 8/19). Quarter scores: 1st. 9-2; 2nd. 16-7, 3rd 23-17 (All in favour of TSTT).
Ninth/Tenth place playoff
Defence Force 35 (Melissa Snaggs 21/29, Makeda Pierre 14/21) vs Police Y 14 (Kaliyah Cooper 3/9, Ashley Wickham 4/17, Cheryse Aguilleria 7/12). Quarter scores: 1st. 10-2; 2nd. 19-5, 3rd 27-9 (All in favour of D Force).
Seventh place: UTT vs Police X, 5.30 pm
Fifth place: Jabloteh vs TSTT, 6.45 pm