Cayman’s best junior netballers figure to have a rude awakening in Scotland.
The Cayman Islands will be facing Jamaica, Samoa, hosts Scotland and Wales in Pool C at the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow this August. Most have experience on this stage, with Jamaica grabbing bronze in 2009 and Wales winning gold in 2000.
Technical Director for Cayman netball Gillian Lee states the strength of Cayman’s foes is no surprise.
“We are certainly in a tough pool,” Lee said. “But we are going to the world championships, so every pool will be hard.”
The national Under-21 team, put together by the Cayman Islands Netball Association, is making its first appearance at this level. The squad’s entry into the competition was accepted by the International Federation of Netball Association, the sport’s global governing body, on a first-come, first-served basis.
There are 15 girls on the roster, with 12 expected to make the trip to Scotland. Representing Cayman are Alexis Carias, Kimberly David, Terry-Ann Hunter, Renee Lindo, Noviann McLean, Brittany Mobley, Hailee Robinson, Olivia Samuels, Charlotte Shepheard, Alexia Walton, Roxanne Walton, Sheynae Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Martika Williams and Rosemarie Wilson.
All will be led by Lee, who doubles as the national coach. Initial tryouts took place last September at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts, attracting more than 25 girls. About three roster cuts took place during the last seven months. Some of the ladies, like Wilson, 17, have prior national team experience due to playing for the 16-U squad.
The U-21 team has earned support from private sector organisations like Deutsche Bank Cayman Islands. Deutsche Bank’s Chief Country Officer, Janet Hislop, states the company supports youth development through sports.
“Deutsche Bank has a tradition of supporting youth development, with a strong emphasis on providing opportunities for young local Caymanians through sporting, cultural and educational initiatives,” Hislop said. “The importance of teamwork is a common theme across all the activities we support and team sports such as netball provide excellent means to reinforce this and encourage young people to work together to achieve a common goal.
“As well as giving young people the chance to improve their sporting skills, this opportunity to travel to Scotland and meet others from different backgrounds and cultures will also be an invaluable experience in terms of personal development and a life lesson for our local players.”
The world championships, happening 22-31 August, take place every four years with the last event on the Cook Islands in 2009. Australia are the reigning champions and 20 countries will be participating this year. Aside from Cayman and Jamaica, the other competing Caribbean nations are Barbados, Bermuda and Trinidad and Tobago. Cayman will play at least four games between 23-27 August.
Cayman’s netball association said in statement that it is pleased with the level of community support for the 21-U team.
The statement reads, “The association is very appreciative of the support in helping Cayman netball achieve its goal of offering netballers international experience and allowing girls to be rewarded for their extremely hard work over the last 12 months. Commitment, hard training, time management and determination are just a few of the skills the girls are achieving.”