Story lines abound as mixed league netball comes to a close.
From an unbeaten squad to a club reinventing itself as a contender, the Cayman Islands Netball Association’s Summer Mixed League, presented by Camana Bay, has sported plenty of intrigue.
Serving as league coordinator has been technical director for Cayman netball Gillian Lee. The national coach gave an overview of how the teams have done.
“Blazers are certainly the team well above the others as they are the reigning champions,” Lee said. “Other teams are improving with every quarter of netball they play.
“Stay Alive are the most enthusiastic team with their bright pink T-shirts and even more supporters than players who stay and watch all the games, all dressed in their Stay Alive tees. And they are third on the ladder so they’re performing very well.
“The Bold and The Beautiful had a draw with Lone Star-Boo’s Mix this season. Just about everyone in these teams are new to netball in Cayman and new to netball as a game.”
The league will stage its finals on Tuesday, 16 October, at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre. Matches start from 6.30pm and last until roughly 9.30pm with all six teams in action.
Blazers are heading into the championship game 5-0 after wrapping up the regular season crown last Tuesday with a 45-3 victory over Bold and Beautiful. Due to a brief league hiatus, they are the reigning champions with their last title coming in the summer of 2010. Among the constants on both teams has been the stellar play of male talents like Romone Buchanan and Gavin Watts.
Standing in the way of a Blazers repeat are Collin Anglin and Rising Stars. Based on point differential, the Stars finished second at 3-2 after a 19-11 win over Lone Star. Stay Alive placed third at 3-2 with Wayne Brown’s Flames Strikers fourth at 2-3. Rounding out the standings were Lavern Ebanks’ Lone Star at 1-1-3 and Allie Campbell’s Bold and Beautiful at 0-1-4.
Stay Alive had a dramatic 20-17 victory over Flames last Tuesday, which team manager Faye Green states is a result of prayer.
“It felt good because we felt ready,” Green said. “We were so prepared for that game. It really took everyone to be united and put our differences aside. That’s why we put up such a wonderful job.
“We got special prayer at the New Testament Church in George Town as well from Bishop Locksley Mitchell. We had confidence we couldn’t lose.”
Green serves as vice president for Unity netball club, which started about five years ago. Stay Alive, which consists mostly of Unity players, originates from the team by the same name that existed in the 1990s. Green was one of the founders of that side, alongside the late netball great Jean Pierre.
The new name and kits gave Green’s troops a boost. A perennial also-ran, the squad had a winning record in the competition for the first time in years. Green states male players like Ovaine Monteith, a league veteran, had the biggest impact.
“The men made a big difference. They made a big difference in our lives as women. They did a wonderful job. With the effort they put out to strengthen us, we wish they could come with us in the women’s league.”
After years of futility, Green has made her teams vastly more competitive. In the 2012 open league, Cayman’s national women’s competition, her Unity A side had a respectable finish and advanced to the consolation final. The Flames Strikers took down Unity in that encounter and Green is not nervous about another big showdown with the club.
“For Tuesday, I understand it will be the fifth versus the sixth seed, three versus four and one versus two. We’re all playing together so we’re likely going to play back the same team, Flames, for third place.
“We’re not worried, not in the least. We’re prepared and we’re going back to do just like how we did on Tuesday. We’re just going to have to play our game.”