The Blazers have reason to feel disappointed about their recent netball campaign.
Even though the squad went 5-0 during the regular season of the Cayman Islands Netball Association’s Summer Mixed League, presented by Camana Bay, the side lost 30-22 to Rising Stars in the championship game.
For Blazers head coach Nicola Williams, it is simply her team’s first loss in years.
“We were First Caribbean/CIBC, then All-Stars and then Blazers and we never lost a co-ed game,” Williams said. “This is the first time we have lost a game.
“It was a good game against Rising Stars but we were not together. In the end, we played them before and Eckerd McField played with us in the past, so there was no new players or anything new that made a difference.
“We didn’t play well and they deserved to win. We’re down for it again next season. Our team didn’t train during this season and next season it’s back to the drawing board. But again, Rising Stars deserve to win.”
The Stars, who have competed in the mixed netball for at least five years, were second during the regular season at 3-2. In the final, the squad showcased much of the talent that helped them excel such as Collin Anglin, Marcia Moiten and Rosemarie Wilson.
Another notable talent was David ‘Baggy’ Taylor, a multi-sport star. In fact, Taylor, 23, played in last week’s title game hours after returning home from Nassau, Bahamas with the Cayman national flag football team.
The Savannah native states the netball crown at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre was well-deserved.
“I was Centre/Goal Shooter and I’ve done this for three years, staying with Rising Stars the whole time,” Taylor said. “It feels great to finally win one after two years. I hope we do it again next year.
“We never turned over the ball as much. We kept our composure, our shooters were on the ball. We got the ball, we were focused to play and our shooters never missed, especially Collin and Marcia.
“Most of the guys on the team are athletic. They usually do other sports. They also have the experience with netball, which helps out a lot.”
In the other league finals, Stay Alive beat the Flames Strikers 25-17 in the consolation game. Behind offensive dynamo Ovaine Monteith, Stay Alive cemented its 3-2 third place regular season finish. The Strikers, meanwhile, were fourth at 2-3 in spite of talents like Wayne Brown, Marvin Gordon and Latoya Nixon.
Lone Star-Boo’s Mix would wrap up fifth place by beating The Bold and The Beautiful 30-13. Behind Lavern Ebanks and Emily Vaka’uta, Lone Star had a 1-1-3 record while Allie Campbell saw her Bold and Beautiful crew finish at 0-1-4.
For the Blazers, the loss to the Stars ends their stranglehold on the competition. Due to a brief league hiatus, they were the reigning champions with their last title coming in the summer of 2010.
In years past, the side featured multi-sport talents like Gary ‘Butcher’ McLaughlin and Molly-Ann Moore. For 2012, there were mostly netball stalwarts like Tishelle Logan, Carolyn Vivian and Katherine Maw.
Gavin Watts has been a constant of the side over the years, along with Richard Allen. Watts states the championship defeat came down to mental toughness.
“We were not hungry, we came out too relaxed,” Watts said. “We were not gelling and we should have played better. We were not settled. I feel it goes down to training as Rising Stars train like three times a week and it showed in the final.
“The team that was most hungry had it. We were too relaxed. It’s not that they were better than us. We played them before and beat them by like 21 points.”
For the record, local netball will now shift its focus to the national women’s competition. The association’s 2012 open league starts play on 15 November with the season-opening uniform parade on 3 November.