Monteith casts the net to pick talent

Netball is adamant it can build on last year’s exploits. To that end the sport is leaping into action this week.

The senior women’s league starts this Saturday and before that comes tryouts for a national youth team tonight.

The netball courts at Truman Bodden Sports Complex sees practice sessions starting at 4pm for a national U16 team.

Organised by the Cayman Islands Netball Association the tryouts are aimed at all young girls in the U19 age category.

Local netball is putting together an U16 team now with the hopes of having Cayman compete in the Barbados schools netball tournament in Easter.

The competition is expected to run the Easter weekend of 2-5 April and features mostly middle schools on the island with a few regional teams like Cayman being invited.

Association member Lyneth Monteith, who has worked with U16 teams in the past, gave details about the upcoming training.

‘After a shaky start last term we would like to start the Under-16 and Under-19 practice on Monday at the Truman Bodden courts.

‘This includes players who were on the Under-16 team or practicing last year as well as any new talented players who are 15 years of age and under.

‘We are hoping to attend the Under-16 tournament in Barbados during Easter this year therefore that does not leave us with a lot of time.’

For Cayman’s young netballers it would be the first major international event of the year and the first since competing in the Jean Pierre U16 memorial tournament last April in Kingston, Jamaica.

Jean Pierre was a crucial figure in netball in Cayman and Jamaica and developed many locals in the sport.

At last year’s tournament Cayman sent a team of 11 girls that competed against Jamaican teams and a few regional sides from Trinidad, Guyana, St. Lucia and Barbados.

The Cayman team, which was the first local U16 side to compete abroad since 2001, placed sixth overall with its best game in a win over Guyana.

News of the Barbados tournament also comes with the start of the school year and the return of school netball.

Last year 13 school teams were split up into two leagues according to age groups. The Under 13 league consisted of six sides while the under 15 league had seven clubs.

New Horizon high school was the big winner in the Under-13 league. The team finished unbeaten at 5-0, scoring the most goals in their league (45) while giving up the fewest (13).

In the Under-15 division Pace set the tone as the squad went unbeaten at 7-0. The squad dominated on both sides of the court by scoring a league-leading 65 goals while allowing a league-low 27 goals.

In spite of those school matches Monteith is eager to have as many young girls at Monday’s training session as possible.

‘I urge teachers to please indicate the importance of this practice to the players representing their schools. All are welcome and I leave it to the discretion of those teachers as to which players are encouraged to participate.’