Rawlinson and Hunter seek net gains

With the national netball league
upon us many sides are after glory.

One of them is Rawlinson and Hunter
which plays in the Cayman Islands Netball Association women’s open league.

The side will take its place among
some seven other teams in division one.

This year the club, which has only
been in existence for two years, hopes to improve on its performance.

Last season the side finished
fourth among the six teams in the top division at 2-3. In the knockout (playoff)
round the club lost to the Butler Properties All Stars in the first game.

In spite of star local players like
Alicia Dixon and Melanie Lewis the side struggled defensively, giving up the
most points (216) in the league.

Among those eager to jump-start a
turnaround is team captain and founder Catherine Anderson.

An administrative assistant at
Rawlinson and Hunter, Anderson has been a steady force on the side since
inception.

She talked about some of the team
goals this year.

“This season we’re hoping to get
out and enjoy playing together again.  We’re trying to organise a regular
training session, but as many of our players work or have classes in the
evenings, it hasn’t been easy to get everyone together. 

“We’re not as dedicated and structured
as many of the other teams but we enjoy playing and we hope that we can provide
some healthy competition for the more well-established teams. 

“Our main aim is to improve as a
team – the actual wins and losses are not so important.”

One of the areas Anderson hopes the team can improve on is its
finishing. In many games last season the club faded in the final minutes. With
extra focus and stamina the side could have earned another win or two on the
year.

However as she states that
shortcoming did not over-ride the team’s morale throughout the season.

“We all enjoyed last season,” Anderson said. “There were
a few games where I think we surprised people with our game and generally I
thought we played well (especially considering our somewhat lax training
schedule).

“There were a few games where we
were tough competition for the first half and three quarters. However our fitness
let us down and we fell apart in the fourth quarter to lose – those were the
frustrating games. 

“There were other games when we
were just outplayed, but we enjoyed those games because it was good netball and
in the end we had nothing to lose so ended up playing well as a team.”

Rawlinson and Hunter are slated to
play its first game this Thursday at the netball courts at Truman Bodden Sports
Complex at about 6:30pm.

Upon hitting the court one of the
interesting things to observe will be the team chemistry.

A number of notable names in local
sports are set to join the team (most notably one of the island’s fittest
athletes in Dionne Anglin) and add to the squad’s overall athleticism.

“We’ve tried to expand our team
this year and have recruited a few players who are new to our team but not new
to the game (namely Nilani Perera, Dionne Anglin and Ellen Downey),” Anderson said. 

“Some of our new players say they
haven’t played in years but we’re hoping that netball is like riding a bike and
that after a few games or practices they’ll get right back into the swing of
things.

“We still have our core of players from
last year (Alicia Dixon, Melanie Lewis, Tatiana Bush, Delicia Ebanks, Karen
Clark and Keisha Anglin).  Alicia and Karen are very strong in the centre
third and in helping the shooters out around the circle. 

“Melanie and I have been shooting
together for a long time now and she’s definitely an asset to the team. 
Keisha, Delicia and Tatiana all work together to make a solid defence. 

“Our new players are
both defenders and attackers so we’re hoping to be able to diversify our team
line-ups and have ample substitutions to be able to play our best game.”

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