The ladies took time to celebrate a historic flag football season and now they are set for national duty.
Three women’s teams will represent the Cayman Islands at the third annual Caribbean Regional Cup. Nassau, Bahamas hosts the competition 14-16 October. Cayman takes on two ladies squads with players from locales like New Providence, Freeport and Grand Bahama island.
Serving as team manger for the trip is Kathy Miller, who serves as Public Relations representative for the newly formed Grand Cayman Flag Football Association. Miller, who played for Dart Women’s League champions the Hammerheads Lady Sharks, states the focus is on competing and representing Cayman.
“It’s a fun event, no matter what,” Miller said. “We had less than a month to fundraise but the girls just want to play. It’s a team-building exercise. We’re going back to playing five-a-side, which is slow for us who played seven-a-side in the league. Sevens is more competitive and challenging.
“We always hosted the Bahamas in the past and it’s nice that they can host us. We’re also going against girls who have only played the sport for a year.”
Over in Nassau, preparations for the Cup tournament are being done by the Bahamas Flag Football Association. The organization is just in its third year of existence and ran a national league of its own this summer. Interestingly, this weekend’s tournament falls over a national holiday in the Bahamas.
Miller oversees two sides representing the Grand Cayman association. The players will be Carrie Barnett, Christine Bisnauth, Erica Bosch-Bone, Scimone Campbell, Lilia Conolly, Sophia Dilbert, Tonia Ebanks, Tajae Grey, Erin Marshall, Carla Martin, Michelle McTaggart, Anna Nyaundi, Bobeth O’Garro, Christina Pineda and Alexandria Saintvil. The head coaches are Darrell Porter and Andrew Wisdom.
Miller spoke about the quality of players suiting up for matches.
“Winning is always a priority. It’s a not stressful thing but we’re going to represent Cayman the best we can. We have some first year players and it will be great to introduce them to the five-a-side format. There is a A and B team. On the A side Scimone, as the Most Valuable Player, is our main receiver while Bisnuath has good leadership skills. Pineda is the quarterback and it will be interesting to see how she handles having all of the consistently good receivers around her.
“On the B team Erica can play offence, defence and QB. She did a great job this year and can help lead along with Michelle McTaggart, whose QB ability has improved tremendously in addition to being a good receiver. Sophia is on the team and she can pump people up while staying focused, which is very important.
“With all of that being said, everyone understands that they are coming together as a team. Everyone has a part to play and this game is not about one or two people.”
The other flag football group on Island, the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association, is sending a women’s team of its own. Coached by Leslie Harvey and his assistant Oliver Parker, the side consists of Cassandra Bodden, Becky Coe, Shamar Ennis, Antoinette Lewis, Lisa Malice, Christsania McLean, Keisha Solomon, Benecia Thompson, Zoenief Walker, Stephanie Watler and Dionne Whittaker.
Andrew Wisdom, who coached the Lady Sharks, states the Cayman Islands group might offer the best competition.
“I’m head coach for the Grand Cayman association lady players,” Wisdom said. “That team is made up of some of the top players. We pretty much have two representatives from each team. For example our Lady Sharks team is represented by Bobeth, Scimone and Lilia. The team was split into two and the girls insisted on me being part of the team due to my coaching ability.
“Bahamas has some girls teams but I’m expecting the strongest competition will be the Cayman Islands association team. It seems like a strong squad they have there.”