For all of their brilliance, there were doubts about All Stars A heading into the netball season.
The reigning champions were a year older and many saw an opening for a younger, more athletic side to overthrow them. This month, All Stars would put those fears to rest with a second consecutive national title.
All Stars beat Storm Radarz, 42-38, to win the Championship Division of the Cayman Islands Netball Association 2013 Open League. Most of the Storm players were part of the now-defunct Roma team that lost in last year’s final.
Lyneth Monteith, one of All Stars’ most senior members, said that connection was not lost on her team.
“Storm were a combination of Roma and a previous Storm team,” Monteith said. “Both were teams who defeated us in the past, so it was especially gratifying to defeat them and repeat a championship.”
All Stars would beat Radarz this month at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre. Monteith served as a sub alongside notable players like Andrea Singh, Pauline Bodden and Tishelle Logan. Leading the winners were Wing Attack Kayon Clarke, Centre Katherine Maws and Goal Defence Cynthia Collington.
Storm, under head coach Milton Clarke and sponsored by Lone Star, could not stop the champs from going the entire season undefeated. The Radarz featured top players like C Dazema Ricketts, attacking stalwart Sophia Foster and defender Carrie Barnett.
Nicola Williams served as All Stars player/coach and led by example as Goal Shooter. Williams said it was great to silence doubters.
“To win overall and coming back to repeat is a feat that all clubs within any sport want to do or emulate, just to prove a point to the other clubs and themselves that they are the best of the best,” Williams said.
“To beat Storm was a great feat as, Lyneth said, they had beaten us before in previous season. However, I think that a lot of people doubted that we could beat them not once, but four times within the season, including the finals, as this was a great combination of the top netball players within the league/country.
“On paper, it looked like there was no way we should have beaten them but we kept to our way of playing and remained consistent and focused on the task at hand and the end product is repeat champions.”
All Stars would claim another trophy as its B squad, sponsored by Cayman National Bank, won the Plate Division. All Stars would defeat Rising Stars B by some 16 points thanks to stellar defence from GD Keisha Solomon and Wing Defence Noviann McLean, while attackers Karen Smith-James and Terry-Ann Hunter steadied the offence.
Both All Stars teams figure to swoop up much of the awards during the association’s season-ending function next Thursday, 30 May. The John Gray High School hall will serve as host venue from 7 to 9pm.
From there, many All Stars players will focus on preparing for Glasgow, Scotland as the Cayman Islands national Under-21 team competes at the World Youth Netball Championships this August.