Jamaica rallies past Martinique for first win


WILLAMSTAD, CURACAO, December 30:  Team captain Dellan Brown led four of his team-mates in double-figure scoring as Jamaica rebounded from its loss against Bahamas to rally past Martinique in four sets in the NORCECA Group A 2014 FIVB Men’s World Championship qualifiers at the International School of Curacao, Willamstad, on Saturday night.


Brown topscored with 18 points, 15 of which were spikes while Ryck Webb contributed 17, Delford Morgan 16 and Alwayne Easy 12 for Jamaica to overcome a first set deficit for a 19-25, 25-16, 25-20, 25-16 victory, in 85 minutes.


The win kept Jamaica chances of a top two finish and a spot in the gold medal match on Sunday night alive.


The Jamaicans who were off to yet another slow start were  the dominant team at the net, 55-39 on spikes and 13-5 on blocks while the fatigued Martiniquans, still reeling from their five-set loss to  Curacao in the morning session, led 3-2 on service aces.


Gregory Alpha led the Martinique attack with 18 points and captain, David Lafaivre got 13 in the loss, which puts his team in a must win encounter with pre-tournament favourites Bahamas on Sunday morning if it is to have chance at the gold medal.


Commenting after the loss, Lafaivre said after playing the first match against Curacao which went to five sets his team was confident of doing well against Jamaica, but they were not ready physically.


“The match started out well for us and we were able to take the first set, but after that we could not maintain the same level of physical play and came out second best in the end.”


An elated Brown,captain of the Jamaicans said his team was somewhat surprised by the start that Martinique got in the match but was able to recover after that.


“I was a bit disappointed in the way we played during the first set but during the break we told the guys to settle down and even though we are still not playing to our full potential we played consistently enough to come back and win the match.


“We are improving with every match and in the final match tomorrow against Curacao we are also hoping to play much better and get to the final, added Brown.


Martinique’s coach Erialc Eddy echoed the sentiments of his captain and agreed that his team was not up to scratch physically.


“We have a match tomorrow against Bahamas and for us we must forget these first two matches we have played and concentrate on what is to come.


A relieved Steve Davis, coach of the victorious Jamaicans while not totally happy with his team’s display said, ‘The guys did what was necessary for us to get the tonight.


“In the second set we were a lot more selective after reviewing the first set. We observed that we had a chance to dominate the middle with our taller players and we did that, but my younger players are yet to show their full potential and once they do that we can get to the final and even take the top spot.


In Saturday’s second session final match, Bahamas and host Curacao, both victorious in their openers meet for the right to stay unbeaten.


On Sunday in the morning session, the final round of preliminary matches, Bahamas plays Martinique from 9am followed by Jamaica and Curacao ahead of the third place match and gold medal contest in the afternoon.


At the end of the tournament, the top three teams will advance to the second round of qualifiers which begin next year.