Men netting some props

Netball is one of Cayman’s focus
sports chiefly for its impact on women. But based on the interest of the
ongoing mixed league, the sport has a solid appeal for men.

The 2010 Cayman Islands Netball
Association Mixed League is heading into its ninth week of play. Five teams hit
the netball courts at Truman Bodden Sports Complex in the Frank Hall Homes
Blazers, Roma, All Stars, Rising Stars and team Multi-Built.

Ovaine Monteith is part of the All
Stars squad. A stalwart of the Wendy’s Tarheels men’s basketball team, Monteith
spoke about his involvement in the sport of netball.

“I’ve played netball in the co-ed
league for a number of years,” Monteith said. “I’ve always played with All
Stars alongside Lyneth Monteith (my sister-in-law). I started netball back in
the 80s when Jean Pierre was around and there was a Cayman national team. I
used to play those girls with a couple of the guys.

“Netball is not easy as it’s a technical
game. You have to learn the rules else they can easily go against you. It’s
more technical and has more rules than basketball. But I find it helps with my
footwork because of little things like you can’t step with the ball. You have
to be more conscious of what you’re doing.”

A number of other athletic men are
in the league. The first-place Blazers have Gavin Watts, basketball champion
Gary “Butcher” McLaughlin and flag football champion Richard Allen. Roma sports
footballer Clifton Ricketts, Damion Claire and Marvin Gordon and Rising Stars
have Delroy Myles and Gary Palmer among others.

With the likes of Collin Anglin and
Sammy O’Garro participating in years past, basketball players have a strong
link to netball. Monteith, 45, states that connection is a necessary one.

“I play in the league mainly to try
and stay in shape. I try to occupy my time (with sports). I play volleyball
sometimes at First Baptist Church. It’s not my game but I play it mainly as a
way of socializing.

“With netball I’d recommend it for
any basketball player. Once they try it they’ll see it definitely helps them.
From positioning and moving without the ball to cutting it strengthens your
game. I’m sure guys like Collin (Anglin) and Rotando (Thompson, who played one
game for us and has been to our practices) can say the same.”

As far as the clubs and sponsors go
the presence of the men is welcome. Faye Green is the club manager for team
Unity, which has a side in the competition under the name of sponsor
Multi-Built. Green has a number of male players at her disposal including team
captain David Wilson and basketball stars Dwight O’Garro and Omar Clarke. Green
states her male players are a definite asset.

“I like the mixed league and it’s
more important to us in a way than the ladies competition because we have the
men to strengthen us,” Green said. “Omar and Dwight played with us last year
and they bring togetherness and strategy to the matches. Those young men put
out their best. As for David we both came into the mixed league at the same
time in the early 1990s. He gets respect from the players, puts in a lot of
effort and is a great contributor to our team.”

Green’s team sponsor is Everton
Vidal, the managing director for Multi-Built construction. Vidal, who hails
from Jamaica, has been in Cayman over 25 years and states the men add to the
growth of Cayman netball.

“Netball is just growing and I’m
impressed with that growth,” Vidal said. “Mind you it’s not like in Jamaica
where there are huge clubs. Cayman may not be a netball country per say but
it’s good for the island that netball keeps men and women busy using their
spare time constructively.

“Bringing in the males to the game
is a good sign. That can only do the island good. With (Cydonie) Mothersill
winning gold (at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi) it seems this country is
raising its profile in sports.”

Mixed league matches continue next
week at 6.30pm. On Thursday 4 November Rising Stars face Roma while Roma face
All Stars on Saturday 6 November.