Some of Cayman’s best netball prodigies are preparing for the biggest test of their young lives.
Over the weekend, the Cayman Islands under-21 national team staged training sessions against Rising Stars, All Stars and a select side at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts. The sessions were unique in that practice matches had a tournament-feel ahead of the World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow, Scotland on 22-31 August.
Technical director for Cayman netball Gillian Lee serves as national coach and states the exercise was a precursor for this summer.
“They played every day and spent the whole weekend together to simulate the tournament,” Lee said. “We had time to do things we don’t usually have time to do. They got used to living together, team-building activities, eating at correct times during the day and having time for video analysis.
“In addition, they were following a time schedule – being ready for meetings at particular times. They got into a pre-match routine, such as pre-match meeting, leaving for the courts together, goal scorers having shooting practice, doing match warm-up and getting focused at the right time.”
Cayman has 15 girls on its roster, with 12 expected to make the trip. The roster consists of 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.
Most of those ladies went against some of Cayman’s best adult talent. Among the standouts were Nicola Williams, Katherine Maw and Tashena Parks of All Stars A, the two-time reigning national champions. There were also male players who aided the training such as Courtney Wisdom and Richard Allen.
For the record, the world championships take place every four years with the last event on the Cook Islands in 2009. Australia are the reigning champions and some 20 countries will be participating this year.
The girls have been training under Lee since last September and have engaged in fundraising drives to help cover expenses related to the Scotland trip.