Gillian targets Brac shooters

Cayman Brac is slated to see a boost in netball by summer’s end.

Technical director for Cayman Islands netball Gillian Lee intends to harvest talent in the Brac. The Aussie, who recently completed her first three months here, states the focus is on growth across Cayman.

“One of my roles is to go to Cayman Brac to see what’s going on there,” Lee said. “If players over there are of the standard to make the national team, I would look to bring them over.

“In Australia, I’m used to travelling many miles to train. There’s also a good network in Australia for identifying new talent. At the grassroots level, there are things like recreational teams. We need to assess what’s there (in the Brac) so we pull the best players for national representation.”

For the record, the Brac has had a netball presence in years past. There was, for example, a Cayman Brac Netball Club, backed by the Sports Association of the Sister Islands, that took part in events like the annual opening parade for the Cayman Islands Netball Association open league.

The renewed focus on the Brac comes as Cayman readies national Under-21 and U16 sides for a major competition next year. The netball association has expressed a desire for Cayman to be represented at the seventh World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on 22-31 August, 2013.

Cayman’s first national coach since the late Jean Pierre years ago, Lee feels there can be a presence at even bigger events.

“The world championships are in three years and we hope to certainly get our act together in that time frame. The next one is in Sydney, Australia and Cayman can have a team there.”

Lee, who previously served as head coach for Australia’s Monash University Central for nearly a decade, has been actively reinvigorating the sport on Grand Cayman. She pushed for the netball association 2012 open league finals to take place at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre for the first time and organised youth camps targeting primary school players.

Currently, there are training clinics taking place aimed at player development. Sessions for residents in the 11-14, 15-20 and 21 and over categories run in George Town, at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts, until 28 August. After that comes the mixed league competition at Camana Bay in September.

Lee, who is currently on a two-year contract of $50,000, states there are more initiatives in the works.

“I’m thinking of social nights for people to try the game. They wouldn’t have to commit on the first night and they stay positive about the sport when things like that happen. You want more people to enjoy the sport. Netball is a sport you can play from age eight to age 60.

“I would also like to expand on more guys playing the game. A lot of locals and expatriates can play at a high standard and the more of them we get back in competition, the better Cayman will get.

“So watch out for more things that have been planned that you, the public, can get involved in over the coming year.”

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