Roma B has been arguably the biggest disappointment in Cayman netball this year.
After a stellar rookie campaign in 2011, the side has endured a sophomore slump in the Cayman Islands Netball Association 2012 open league. With a 1-6 record, the side is ninth in the standings and on the verge of not making the postseason.
Carrie Barnett helped manage the B side while suiting up for the A unit. She states the struggles have been from a lack of players.
“The B team is not looking good because a lot of girls are overseas,” Barnett said. “Nicola ‘Trish’ Pringle and I did a lot to get new members. It was hard as there are a few that can play good. I was teaching defence, Trish was training the attackers and I would have said we had a good team.
“To get people out at game time, that was the problem. We didn’t seem to have people to commit. The few we had were good players but it almost made no sense without a full squad. I originally wanted them to pull out of the competition.
“But Roma B is still in the competition, though we lost some games. Jahzenia Thomas is still on the team but had school. Julia Watling is somewhat like Anissa Owen, which is a good thing. The older players got better than last year and the team still has potential.”
Last year, Roma would claim the B division title behind the likes of Jahzenia Thomas, Kristie Hurlston and Avril Myers. This time around the side, which sports newcomers like Benieca Thompson, is hoping for losses by 2-7 Unity B (eighth) and 1-6 Ernst and Young Hot Shots (10th) to squeeze into the knockout round.
The 2012 league sees the top four squads competing for the national title while the bottom four challenge for the consolation trophy. The other bottom clubs at the moment are 2-6 Rising Stars B (seventh), 4-4 Unity A (sixth) and 5-4 Flames Strikers (fifth). Roma A (7-1), All-Stars A (7-1), Rising Stars A (7-2) and All Stars B (5-3) are the frontrunners.
As Barnett states, the B team has seen a huge turnover of players as some five ladies departed; mostly for school abroad. Of that number, arguably the biggest losses were Anissa Owen and defenders Renece Willis and Saneata Smith.
Owen, 20, is in her first year at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The Bodden Town resident is in Cayman on spring break until 6 May and states Roma’s problems are regrettable.
“It is very disappointing, knowing the team was up there last year,” Owen said. “I know the A team is pulling through and they’re still good. I also saw where there are a lot of new teams in the league as well.
“We lost our whole defensive line, which was a big factor. We just lost a lot of people to school. I know our A team is going to be on top again and they will always pull through regardless. If the B team believes in themselves, they can advance.”