The reigning champions of Cayman netball remain the team to beat.
All Stars A are the top side in the Cayman Islands Netball Association 2012-2013 open league, with a 3-0 record atop the A division. The latest victory was a 65-4 clobbering of rookie club Jets at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts on Tuesday.
For star shooter Pauline Bodden, the early success bodes well for 2013.
“We’re looking good with no losses as yet,” Bodden said. “Things are really going good. If we keep up the good work, we should come up with another victory at the end of the season.”
The A team, previously sponsored by Central Cooling, came into the season with much of the focus and pressure as the 2011-2012 champions. The side famously defeated arch-rivals Roma last year at Camana Bay. Much of the roster has remained intact, with Bodden steadying the offence alongside Stacy Reid-Satahoo.
Roma would fold in the offseason, merging with Storm netball club to form a trio of new squads this season. Heading into the New Year, the netball association had rated Nicola Pringle, Dazema Ricketts and the Storm Radarz atop the top flight at 2-1.
The Supa Storm, behind the likes of Melanie Lewis, are one of two unbeaten sides in the B division. The Storm Chaserz feature many young newcomers and started out slow at 0-3.
For All Stars head coach/offensive player Nicola Williams, the new teams present a welcome challenge.
“The season is going well so far seeing so many teams participating this season and seeing the teams that were excepted to be on top doing so,” Williams said.
Williams is among many established veterans on the team, which has been together for years and won multiple national championships. Lyneth Monteith is among the stalwarts with Katherine Maw and Carolyn Vivian cementing their place in recent seasons.
All are paving the way for the All Stars B team, sponsored by Cayman National Bank. The youngsters have stepped up of late, topping the B ranks last season and starting 3-0 atop the standings this year. Among the starlets have been shooter Karen Smith-James and Brittany Mobley.
Monteith had a key role in forming the B side and states their success is important.
“Both teams have tremendous potential and capacity for succession when the veterans retire,” Monteith said.
Going forward, both have a lengthy road to glory in 2013. The A team played Marsha Campbell’s 2-1 Flames Strikers on Thursday and will tackle Molly-Ann Moore’s 0-4 Renegades side on 24 January at 6.45pm.
The B side plays this Saturday, 12 January, against the 2-1 Optimists at 6.45pm before ending the month with a showdown against Alexis Carias and 3-1 Rising Stars B next Thursday, 17 January, at 8pm.
Williams is confident in both All Star teams going forward as the right personnel is in place.
“Our A team defence has really improved as we added a new player at the end of last season in Tashena Parks, which only helped strengthen the duo of Teneshia Wilson and Cynthia Collington in the defensive end.
“Overall, I would say the mix of players and combination that is used at particular times is what is helping us to win and part of our strategy or focus is on our opponent’s weakness and try to use the players that would best help the team exploit that weakness.
“In our B team, we have promoted Tishelle Logan up to the A team, which has been a plus. However, we pretty much have a new squad for the B team with some of the Under-21 girls who are trying to make that national team to Scotland this year with several veterans like Karen Smith-James, Whonda Fuad and Latasha Nixon in the mix has added additional strength.”
The All Star squads will be aiming to end up atop their seven-team divisions, ahead of Rosemarie Wilson’s 2-1 Rising Stars A and Zanya Pinnock’s 0-2 Unity in the top flight and Gemma Butterfield’s 1-3 Ernst and Young Hot Shots and Josefa Martinez’s 0-4 Island Heritage side in the B ranks.
League action will continue this Saturday as the Hot Shots face Island Heritage at 6.45pm before Chaserz and Supa Storm square off at 8pm alongside Rising Stars A and the Radarz.
For onlookers like Eddie Solomon, it makes little difference which of those teams stand in All Stars’ way.
“I’m the assistant coach for All Stars A, I help with managing duties and I’m behind Nicola 100 per cent,” Solomon said. “This has been my team for years. I’m looking forward to hitting the mark this season.
“They never played a hard team in the Jets, it was like a practice match. All Stars is on a different level, the ball is in their hands for now. I don’t see no other team to beat them now except All Stars. The only way they lose is if they beat themselves.”