After a grueling day of PCNC Grand Finals which started at around 9:00 on Saturday morning, the main game was ready to be contested by two of the premier divisions powerhouse clubs, BSP and Brian Bell, it was BSP who were able once again take the podium and claim the big prize.
They had watched a carnival of netball being played out before them and for many who had come through the divisions it was like the appetiser before the real thing, the prelude to the prize fight. When it came time, all eye's were on the two tents perched on opposite ends of court 2, the unmistakable lime green of PNG's biggest bank and the trademark Coleman tent of Port Moresby's specialist retailer, Brian Bell.
This was the pinnacle of a season of real challenging moments and spectacular highlights, delays, controversy and magic. The stories are so many that we'd have to create a special website for them, but in the end there was two left standing in each division, one of which would have the prestige of being this season's champions.
Brian Bell who were outright leaders two weeks prior to the round 1 break, fell from grace just as quickly as they got there and it was pretty much curtains for them half way through round 2, but the unpredictability of the the game saw other teams losing critical games at the most inopportune time and the result was a scraping through into fourth spot for the retailer's at the end of round 2. Success in the next two games against very strong opposition in the likes of Fairdeal Liquor and Air Niugini shot them to a perch even they didn't expect to have, that of grand finalists in season 2009/2010. This gave them the heart because they certainly had the skills and the personnel to take BSP.
BSP have been this seasons most consistent performer and their claim to a grand final spot was assured midway through round 2. This does not mean they've had it all their way this year, far from it, they ascension have been off the back of hard fought wins. Consistency has been the green machine's greatest allie and they have been fortunate enough to carry it through to another premiership victory.
Brian Bell came out firing on all cylinders and the eyebrows were raised at the 1st quarter break when the scores were locked up 9-9. Brian Bell were making a statement with strong defense, lightning quick attack and great skills in midcourt. BSP were in for a hell of a fight if they were to take this final and that's what they did.
Every passage of play in this grand final was contested with the intensity expected at this level, the physical contest, the skills on display and the passion in each player's effort made this an excellent grand final to watch. The sweat and grind, the shoving and positioning of players and the extraordinary athleticism on display made it all the more exceptional.
Unfortunately, there always has to be a winner and a loser in these events and for the Brian Bell ladies, that became evident midway through the final quarter as BSP's accuracy and stronger midcourt play started to make inroads into their defences. BSP's Jacklyn Hape was exceptional on Saturday and with Renagi Dringo-Mulina directing traffic in the shooting circle, was able to really make their presence felt.
Betty Kila playing keeper for most of the match and Cecilia Agelavu as GD were tireless in their defence of the BSP hoop always putting pressure on Brian Bells star shooter, Lina Raka and attack Lale Ula. Caroline Genaia played her heart out defending the hoop for Brian Bell using all her experience to upstage the BSP attack but a lack of communication with her keeper allowed the BSP attack to sneak through on many sorties and undoing her hard work.
As the song goes "I've paid my dues, time after time ........For we are the Champions my friend, and we'll keep on fighting till the end, we are the champions, we are the champions, no place for losers for we are the champions ....... of the world"
And indeed they are, well done BSP on a fine display of hard work, teamwork, sportsmanship and grace. Brian Bell were wonderful adversaries and gracious losers, enjoying a friendship off the courts as strong as the contest on it.
The final score 37 - 30 to BSP. A great win to the green machine, a great win to the individuals and a great win to netball.
Stories for all the other divisions and images will be published shortly.