In all forms netball has seen tremendous growth and the youth are showing a great interest.
The amount of youth netball has attracted is encouraging and has allowed a national youth team to be drawn up from a great talent base.
The Cayman Islands Under-16 national team left for Kingston, Jamaica yesterday to compete in the Jean Pierre U16 Youth tournament, which honours the memory of Cayman and Jamaica netball figure Jean Pierre.
There the team plays a host of sides from around the Caribbean including Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago.
Games began from last night and the competition continues through to next week. The Cayman contingent returns home April 30.
The Cayman team heading to Jamaica is:
Shillo Scott – Cayman Brac High School; Brittany Mobley, Tianna Duty, Hailee Robinson – Cayman Prep High School; Liana Benjamin, Renee Lindo, Adrian Mackey, Kiana Rankine – John Gray High School; Lexie Solomon, RoseMarie Wilson – PACE High School and Sarah Hale of St. Ignatius.
The team is being coached and overseen by a number of distinguished persons in local netball.
Among them are players/umpires Molly-Ann Moore, Sophia Foster and prominent local figure Lyneth Monteith.
The team has been in serious training since February. They have trained at various locales on Grand Cayman such as the netball courts at Truman Bodden Sports Complex.
Since the Easter holidays the team has trained twice a day at the auditorium of Cayman Prep High School and have had practice games in the evenings.
Before leaving the team met with a host of government officials and well-wishers for an impromptu photo shoot in their playing kits at the netball courts at Truman Bodden.
Among the dignitaries present were Cayman Islands Netball Association President Lucille Seymour and Angela Martins, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture.
Martins gave a brief message on behalf of the Minister of Education, Youth and Sports, Alden McLaughlin, who wished the girls success and wants them to be good sports ambassadors for the Cayman Islands.
Martins went on to say she will be looking and listening for good news about the team’s participation in the tournament.
Lucille Seymour said she wished them well and gave the team her blessings. She expressed that they were among some of the best netball players on the Cayman Islands.
‘I’m impressed CINA selected girls from different schools over our islands, not just the public schools. That tells me netball has gone big in the schools and with our youth.
‘Thanks must be given to the government, in particular Minister McLaughlin, and the private sector for assisting in the cause.’
She went on to say the girls should remember the things they were taught by their coaches and use the skills they have learned in the Easter netball camp in their games.
A plethora of parents and supporters came by to wish the team success.
Among them was Chuck Mobley, father of player Brittany Mobley.
Chuck, who owns an air conditioning company, said he was pleased with his daughter.
‘I’m very proud of her, she has worked really hard to be on the team. She takes things so seriously and even when she can’t she wants to be at every practice.’
Brittany Mobley, 15, is one of five children. She attends Cayman Prep and her family resides in George Town.
Another parent who came to support their child was Rhonda Benjamin.
Rhonda is the wife of former Chief Agriculture Officer Alfred Benjamin and the mother of player Leanna Benjamin.
Rhonda talked about her feelings on Leanna’s commitment to netball.
‘I’m elated that she’s able to represent the Cayman Islands at the national level. She’s always been in netball since her primary school days and I’m happy her hard work paid off.’
Leanna, 15, is in year 11 at John Gray High School and she feels making the team is an educational experience.
‘I’m learning so many things while having fun meeting new people from the other schools. The new skills I’m picking up can help me with my footwork and shot selection.’