Wallace off to join pro ranks Down Under

The University of T&T goes through its paces at the All Sectors Netball League Opening Day American Style Premier Division Championship at the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena Tacarigua on Saturday. Photo Anthony Harris

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Samantha Wallace, T&T’s standout goal-attack at the 14th Netball World Cup in Sydney Australia, last year, leaves today to join the professional ranks in England. In an early Christmas gift, Wallace, was one of four new players snapped up by Hertfordshire Mavericks for the 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague.

Her move to England from local team, the University of T&T which she led to the All Sectors Netball League Opening Day American Style Premier Division crown at the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena Tacarigua on Saturday comes after Wallace, a standout at the World Junior Under-21 Championship a few years back in Scotland made an impressive debut at the Netball World Cup where she led the T&T attack with 280 goals from 324 attempts in eight matches.

In a tough four-team group invoving the top two ranked teams in the world in host Australia and New Zealand as well as Caribbean neighbours, Wallace managed to hold her own with impressive shooting displays.

Against the Aussies, Wallace who made her national debut against Canada in 2008 tallied 11 of 14 attempts in a 73-32 loss and then converted 24 of 34 in a 74-38 defeat at the hands of the Kiwis before dominating the Bajans, with 37 of 42 attempts in a 55-39 win to end the first round.

The T&T shooter who stands at 193 centimeters and turns 22 on January 16, was a former Caribbean Under-16 “Most Valuable Player”. Wallace raised her game in the qualifying round for positions ninth to 16th, scoring 30 of 34 in a 66-39 win over Zambia; 27 from 31 in a 75-32 beating of Singapore, and 49-from 59 to lead T&T past Samoa.

Her best was yet to come as Wallace went for 49 from 54 attempts in an overtime ninth to 12th semifinal win over Scotland, including nine of her team’s ten goals in the extra-time period. And in her final match, Wallace surpassed the 50-goal mark with 53 from 60 attempts to lead T&T to a 64-51 win over Samoa and ninth spot.

In addition to the T&T standout, New Zealand veteran and World Cup gold medallist Joline Henry, Australian Sam May and Ella Clark of England will be turning out for the Hatfield-based franchise which boast a winning combination of international experience and home grown talent on its 15-player roster.

According to the league’s website, the entire squad that has represented their countries at various age categories and around the globe, makes for a team ready to go one step further in 2016 and bring home the title of Super League Champions.

The Mavericks also believe they have the best depth of talent in the shooting circle of all the Super League teams with four to five shooters being 6 feet 3 inches tall and highly versatile players.

“This squad is the culmination of six months hard work from both the coaches and the staff enabling us to secure such a fantastic group of players,” said Sam Bird, coach.

“I would like to thank the sponsors and our fans for their support making it possible for the Board to provide the resources to sign these elite athletes.”

“My aim was always to find a mix of experienced England internationals (Louisa, Layla, Lindsay) with rising England stars (Vicky, George, Sophie, Scarlett) and outstanding imports (Samantha, Sam and Joline),” said Bird.

She added: “I believe we have achieved that aim with all our players all exceptional in their own right. Finally, I wanted players who were passionate about playing for Mavericks and to lead us in our best efforts to win this year. We cannot wait to get started. Come and watch.”

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