The Cayman Islands Under-21 netball team got a rough introduction to Glasgow.
Host country Scotland thrashed Cayman, 73-21, in the first match of the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships. Thursday’s contest, which occurred after the official opening ceremony, took place in front of more than 3,000 spectators at the £113 million Emirates Arena.
Chief Executive Officer of Netball Scotland, Maggie Murray, said it was an ideal start for the hosts.
“It was a brilliant two hours of musical entertainment, dance spectaculars and, of course, some incredibly outstanding netball,” Murray said. “I am so proud of our girls who played exceptionally well and their opening victory is the best possible start we can have. We were delighted with the over 3,000-strong crowd at the opening ceremony and first game and we hope this fantastic support continues throughout the duration of the championships.”
Scotland led 18-4 at the end of the first quarter and 36-10 by halftime. The hosts put pressure on Cayman to create turnovers and used a host of subs in the final two quarters. A tired and winded Cayman team and home crowd support spurred Scotland to a decisive victory.
The Cayman squad features team captain Martika Williams, 20, vice captain Brittany Mobley, 19 and 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.
Aside from Scotland, Cayman faces Jamaica, Samoa and Wales in Pool C. The local girls took on the Jamaicans on Sunday and face the Welsh on Monday, Aug. 26, before wrapping up group play on Tuesday, Aug. 27 against the Samoans. The playoffs start on Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Carias, 15, is one of Cayman’s attacking players and served as goal shooter against the hosts. She said the girls are keeping their heads up.
“We did good, we fought to the finish,” Carias said. “We had mistakes but we picked it back up and carried on. I enjoyed the game and the opening ceremony, with all the dancers and children. It was a good experience, we’re going to learn from this and fight until the end.
“Back home, we played against the seniors so it was really good and we gained good experience from it. We’re looking forward to the rest of the tournament. I hope we come out and fight hard, as hard as we did against Scotland and we never give up.”
The championships are being backed by Glasgow Life on behalf of the Glasgow City Council and Netball Scotland with funding support from Event Scotland and UK Sport. Some 5,000 schoolchildren from across Scotland are attending the games.
Lee, Cayman’s technical director for netball, said the atmosphere for the opening match was electric.
“It’s such a pleasure and honour to be the first team playing,” Lee said. “You know the girls had such an awesome experience with the crowd. It was nearly half our population watching us, so you know it was just a really awesome experience for the girls.
“What I was really pleased about was the girls learned as the game went on. Against Scotland, they could string together some great passages of plays together.”