Roma shooting for more netball success

Most associate the name Roma with football.

Whether it’s the Italian giants or the Cayman side Roma has a notable place in the world’s game.

Lately though the name is synonymous with local netball, particularly as one of the better teams.

Through all the competitions Roma consistently boasts a winning side.

The latest local contest to bear that out is the 2009 Cayman Islands Netball Association mixed netball league.

Roma is off to an unbeaten two game start courtesy of some high-scoring affairs.

Arguably their most impressive performance of the season was two Saturdays ago at the netball courts at Truman Bodden.

In front of a crowd of some 50 curious onlookers the squad dazzled and posted 30 points for a solid nine point win over Rising Stars World Gym.

Key to Roma’s success in that game and in netball on a whole was a strong, veteran attack boasting extremely athletic players.

It all goes in motion from the centre position. Roma features two nimble well-rounded athletes in Clifton Ricketts and Michael Dehaney.

Both have been with the Roma side for at least two seasons and their familiarity with the fast-paced style of play shows in their decision-making.

What makes them stand out though is their ability to control the pace of the action. Their hustle and long arms thwart many passes while putting them in good positions to find their scorers.

From there points come in bunches with the trio of Shawn Smith, Nicole Pringle and Kay Copeland.

Smith is a multi-sport phenom who plies his skills to basketball and football when he’s off the court.

In fact he’s arguably most successful in men’s hoops. He won the national men’s title with the Wolves team this year plus the three-point shooting crown.

On the netball court his basketball background translates well. He has great range on his shots, can produce points under pressure and he understands how to position himself to score.

Much of the same can be said about Pringle and Copeland. Both have played netball for some time on-island and look at home with their backs to the basket.

One of the most under-rated parts of the team is their defense. It’s not the kind of lock-down unit that would make the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers happy.

But it is certainly good enough to give even the most prolific attacking teams, like Storm and All Stars, some pressure.

Leading the charge on that front is Zoenief Walker and Paula Hughes. Both have been involved with the Roma netball club for years and have come to be two of the mainstays.

On the court both quick to the netball and boast cat-like reflexes. With a vast football background, Walker is always busy with her feet and seems to have stamina for ages.

Hughes meanwhile has an eye for passing lanes and can make simple passes tough.

Mixed netball is in its opening stages and Roma may look dominant but they have their hands full the rest of the way.

Teams like Storm Quick Cash, Guy Harvey’s Ocean Foundation All Stars and Rising Stars Money Gram all have the coaching, players and talent to thwart a Roma championship.

In fact Roma gets its first big test of the season this Saturday.

At 6:30pm the side takes on Storm Quik Cash at the netball courts at Truman Bodden Sports Complex.

Expect Storm to come to the match with much of their fearsome women’s team in place including the likes of Sophia Foster and Lavern Davis-Ebanks.

Also in action on the night is Rising Stars World Gym against Rawlinson and Hunter.

Look for basketball stars Collin Anglin and Letanya Thompson to play a big role for Rising Stars.

Both Roma and Storm are no strangers to each other as they have faced off in a number of local competitions.

The last of which was the final of the senior women’s league in March. Storm won a close, tense game 42-38.

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