The world’s leading netball figure is pleased the Cayman Islands is playing in Scotland.
International Federation of Netball Associations President Molly Rhone recently expressed her delight at seeing Cayman send its Under-21 national team to the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Glasgow.
“This event, to be held in Glasgow’s magnificent new Emirates Arena, draws together young netballers from a diversity of backgrounds and cultures and promises to be a truly superb tournament,” Rhone said. “We anticipate there will be some closely fought matches not just between our top netballing nations, but also amongst our new netball nations.
“We are delighted to welcome Israel, Malta, Namibia, Cayman, Bermuda and the Republic of Ireland to the world championships for the first time. We are really looking forward to enjoying some exciting international netball in Glasgow.”
Team captain Martika Williams, 20, and vice captain Brittany Mobley, 19, lead a Cayman squad featuring 10 other girls: Alexis Carias, Kimberly David, Terry-Ann Hunter, Noviann McLean, Olivia Samuels, Charlotte Shepheard, Roxanne Walton, Sheynae Watson, Aaliyah Webb and Rosemarie Wilson.
Guiding the girls are national coach Gillian Lee, assistant coaches Nicola Williams and Lyneth Monteith, team managers Andrea Singh and Adena Miller and delegates Lucille Seymour and Norma Ferryman.
Seymour serves as president of the Cayman Islands Netball Association with Monteith and Ferryman as vice presidents.
The world championships is the first international netball event to be staged in Scotland since 1987 and takes place less than a year before the sport takes centre stage at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Executive Member for the Games, Councillor Archie Graham, said this week’s matches reaffirm netball’s importance in Scottish sports.
“We are looking forward to welcoming the best young netballers in the world to the Emirates Arena for what will undoubtedly be 10 days of top-class action,” Graham said. “We are one of the world’s leading sporting cities and international events such as this reaffirms that position. Sport is a way of life in Glasgow as the young players from the 19 visiting nations will experience. We are looking forward to the action getting under way.”
Cayman arrived in Scotland over the weekend and was slated to play practice games against Singapore and Israel this week at Glasgow’s £113 million Emirates Arena. The world championships take place until 31 August and occur every four years, with the last event in the Cook Islands in 2009. Australia – the reigning champions – Barbados and Bermuda are among 20 countries participating this year.
Cayman will face Jamaica, Samoa, Scotland and Wales in Pool C. Most of those teams have experience on this stage, with Jamaica grabbing bronze in 2009.
Cayman’s first game is after the tournament’s opening ceremony this Thursday, Aug. 22, against Scotland. From there, the local girls play: Jamaica on Aug. 25, Wales on Aug. 26 and Samoa on Aug. 27 before the playoffs start on Aug. 28.
Lee said that while Cayman are heavy underdogs, the girls have progressed well in the build-up to the competition.
“The girls have improved hugely over the past six months,” Lee said. “From not knowing the tactics of the game and still struggling with the fundamentals of the game, they now can stick to plays, read the game and their fundamental skills are improving all the time.
The biggest sticking point while we are at the world championships will be playing against different styles of play, by different countries and adjusting our game accordingly.”