Netball / Premier League

J-Town Registers First Season Win

Host Modi’in comes unstuck in 39-15 trouncing; Katamon tops league after beating Jerusalem Mercaz.

Nir Keidar

J-Town came into Modi’in and showed little mercy, as it notched its first victory of the 2014-2015 Israel Netball league with a 39-15 trouncing last week.

In the second match of the evening in Modi’in, Katamon withstood a belated comeback bid by Jerusalem Mercaz to win 35-32.

J-Town had lost the first two matches of the season, falling 31-26 to Katamon and then Ra’anana 35-30 in late November. Meanwhile, Modi’in had been overwhelmed in its season opener two weeks ago, losing 51-15 to Katamon.

Having a month off apparently made the difference.

“We’ve been working hard in practice, and it finally paid off,” J-Town player-coach Alexi Shapiro told Haaretz after the game. Teammate Ilana Engel added, “We usually have 10, but tonight we only had eight players, so we were working much harder.”

The hard work meant that J-Town ran off to a 10-4 lead by the end of the first 15 minutes. Modi’in picked up its defense early in the second quarter, intercepting a number of passes in front of its own goal. Yet rule violations on offense cost the hosts scoring opportunities, and they struggled to whittle down J-Town’s advantage.

Down 15-7 some seven minutes into the period, Modi’in showed a measure of tenacity by forcing J-Town into turnovers on three of its next four possessions and converting on two of its own, to close the gap to 16-9 with five minutes left. However, J-Town went on a 3-0 run to finish the half.

J-Town made apparent adjustments at halftime, running off three more unanswered points while Modi’in did not even get off a shot until three and a half minutes into the quarter. Other than a five-minute stretch when it was held scoreless, J-Town dominated the period, converting nine of its first 13 shots, compared to Modi’in’s 2-of-10 shooting. J-Town thus established an insurmountable 28-11 lead going into the final quarter.

J-Town wound up winning by 24 with the help of four second-chance points in the fourth period.

Katamon, which squandered a seven-point third-quarter lead but held on against Jerusalem Mercaz, holds sole possession of first place in the Premier League with 15 points after three matches. Jerusalem Mercaz is in second with 12 points, followed by J-town with nine and Ra’anana with eight. Tel Aviv is in fifth place with seven points, but has a game in hand.