We’re aiming high for net gains

For the last two weeks the Cayman
sports scene has been rightfully captivated by the CARIFTA Games being held
here.

With Cayman’s CARIFTA swim
contingent just returning home from Jamaica with more medals the other
local sports can now get back in motion.

One of the first to do so is
netball which saw a local team leave these shores on Thursday in search of netball
glory in Barbados.

The Cayman Islands Netball
Association national U16 team is travelling to the far-east Caribbean country
to compete in the Barbados
schools netball competition.

Originally slated for the Easter
break, the tournament now takes place this weekend. The competition features
mostly middle schools on the island with a few regional teams like Cayman being
invited.

The local netball association named
the following young girls to Cayman’s national team:

Shanai Allen – New Horizons High School

Noviann McLean – New Horizons High School

Kadejah Bodden – New Horizons High School

Hannah Peralta – PACE High School

Tracey Hydes – PACE High School

Kristen Forbes – PACE High School

Sarah Hale – St. Ignatius High School

Kristina Watler – Cayman Prep and
High

Glennique Bodden – John Gray
High School

Rosemarie Wilson – John Gray
High School

Lexie Solomon – John Gray High School

Tovina Gilpin – John Gray High School

The girls have been training for roughly
two months. Training sessions were conducted twice a week after school at the
netball courts at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex. Leading those sessions were
coaches and local netball figures Lyneth Monteith and Molly-Ann Moore.

Both Monteith and Moore
coached the Cayman team that took part in the Jean Pierre U16 memorial tournament
in Kingston.
That trip marked the first time since 2001 that a local U16 side competed
abroad.

Most of the girls heading to Barbados are
relatively new players in local netball. About the only fresh face that stands
out to this reporter is Tovina Gilpin who was named an all-star and took part
in the first-ever netball all-star night last month.

In fact Gilpin finished second in
the shooting competition in the U16 category (Barbados-bound team-mate
Rosemarie Wilson came first). Gilpin’s shooting touch could make a world of difference
this weekend.

As Moore states that fact simply means the trip
can offer a chance for them to shine.

“We have a couple of new girls like
Hannah, Tovina and Noviann. Age had the most to do with the differences and
changes with the team compared to the one that went to Jamaica last
year.

“Most of the other girls are 16
now, making them too old for the team. Then again we’re lucky in that Rosemarie
Wilson and Lexie Solomon both went on that trip and they are both 15. Sarah
also was on that team and she can help us carry on this time.

“Out of that bunch we’re hoping
Lexie can impress as she has more experience. But on the whole we hope the trip
can give insight as to where the sport’s future can improve.”

As Moore alluded to, Rosemarie Wilson and Lexie
Solomon are the more established names in netball and on the local sports
scene. Both girls are involved in local basketball, having played for the various
youth leagues.

In netball both have major roles
with Rising Stars netball club and were named All Stars this year (Solomon
guided the West team to victory over Wilson’s
East side). Wilson
is usually a starting defender on the division one World Gym squad. Solomon is
normally a starting attacking player for the Money Gram team.

Both girls hope to guide Cayman to
more success and accolades in a regional competition. Last year in Jamaica
Cayman placed sixth overall in a field featuring Trinidad,
Guyana and Barbados.

Cayman’s performance was punctuated
by a sterling win over Grenada.
Wilson was named
the most valuable player for Cayman and voted as one of the top 16 players at
the tournament.

After this weekend’s matches local
netball is set to get going again next week with a match at 6pm on Thursday and
6:30pm on Saturday.

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