Orvin’s starlets

Rising Stars netball club has
prided itself for years on its ability to recruit young talent and be competitive
in all phases of the sport. The squad intends to keep that going in 2011.

The side has two teams entered in
the 2011 Adult Open Netball League. Put on by the Cayman Islands Netball
Association, matches started last weekend and continue through to early April.
Fixtures take place twice a week at the netball courts of the Truman Bodden
Sports Complex in George Town.

Forming both squads is a collection
of players that are no strangers to netball. The A team boasts stalwarts like
Marcia Moiten, Tara Ramoon and Tricia Skyers-Palacio (who doubles as co-team
manager and head coach). Steadying the B team is slated to be multi-sport stars
Letanya Thompson and Lexie Solomon and emerging talent Shanai Allen.

Co-team manager Orvin Palacio
states the side is expected to hold its own in spite of a number of missing
ladies.

“I’m feeling pretty confident,”
Palacio said. “On the A team we have fresh faces and so far they’re gelling
with the more established ones. We’ll see how they play together. We have a
pair of players coming off maternity leave in Melissa Rankine-Coe and Mariscka
Blackman.

“Mrs. Marcia (Moiten) is coming
back in full swing, Tricia (Skyers-Palacio) will both coach and play and Tara
(Ramoon) didn’t play last year so she’s a good addition for us this year. Plus
the B team has girls like Kady Myers and Alexis Carias coming back.

“So far it has been all good.
Granted we lost Tiki (Geraldeen Smith) who left the island and has gone back to
Jamaica. Also we’re not sure about Rose-marie Wilson, who has some other
commitments, though we’re hoping she comes back to the A team. But we have two
exciting new players, one of which is Georgia Linton, formerly of Roma.”

Rising Stars are hoping to
replicate last year’s form. The A team, sponsored by World Gym, made the first
round of the playoffs in the top flight after a 3-5 campaign. The B side, sponsored
by Money Gram, finished fourth in the second division at 1-5 but turned things
around to advance to the title game (where they lost to the Cayman National
Bank All Stars). By and large most squads are coming back intact though the
majority of second-tier sides are a mystery.

Interestingly this year’s
competition has a different format. Three rounds of competition will make up
Cayman’s national women’s league. Part one is a round-robin schedule with the
second section focusing on the top four teams facing off in the playoffs. The
third and final round features the bottom four squads playing for a consolation
trophy.

Palacio, 34, states though he is
not sure about this year’s opponents his focus is on last year’s finalists.
“I’m not really sure who is who but the usual suspects are there.

“All Stars and Roma are coming back
strong and those are the two main horses we have to worry about. All Stars in
particular are rebuilding to take back the championship. Other than that Maples
are interesting but an unknown.”

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