After a watershed moment in Cayman Islands netball, local players are proud of their achievements.
Cayman sent an Under-21 team to the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland last month, finishing 17th out of 20 countries with three wins in seven games. The victories were the first in Cayman’s history as the girls made their debut in the competition at Glasgow’s £113 million Emirates Arena.
For Alexis Carias, 15, the championships were a time to embrace historic efforts.
“We fought to the finish, I think we did really great being in our first world championships,” Carias said. “For me, being on the first national team of Under-21 girls for Cayman, I found it great. I think we bonded very good. We were not a team, we were more like a family.”
Carias was one of 12 girls to represent the Cayman Islands, while others included Kimberly David, Terry-Ann Hunter, Noviann McLean, Brittany Mobley (vice captain), Olivia Samuels, Charlotte Shepheard, Roxanne Walton, Sheynae Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Martika Williams (captain) and Rosemarie Wilson.
They were under the guidance of national coach and technical director for Cayman netball, Gillian Lee. The girls were also supported by assistant coaches Nicola Williams and Lyneth Monteith, team managers Andrea Singh and Adena Miller and delegates Lucille Seymour and Norma Ferryman. Some members of the delegation left Scotland early but the team officially arrived in Cayman on Tuesday evening.
Mobley, 19, helped steady center court play for Cayman and said her experience as vice captain was positive.
“What was it like being vice captain? It was challenging sometimes, but good,” Mobley said. “I liked it. It let me and challenged me to become a better player and set an example. I felt proud to be vice captain. It’s always an honor to represent your country and be one of the leaders of our team.”
Cayman started the competition by losing its first four games during group play to finish last in Pool C.
The losses were embarrassing: 73-21 to host country Scotland, 98-2 to Jamaica, 94-10 to Wales and 74-24 to Samoa.
However, the local team would rebound to win three straight matches. Cayman beat Ireland, 62-26, and then Israel, 71-26, before closing out the round robin consolation playoffs with a 49-48 victory over Malta.
Williams, 20, said the victories were welcome after tough defeats in the opening stages.
“It feels great, we had tough games and we felt great to win,” Williams said. “We learned a lot of things. We had hard opponents in our group, so from those opening days, we learned to move fast enough to pass the ball quicker, defend harder and get the ball.
“The team is feeling great right now,” she said. “They were excited for that last game and hoping that they would win and perform better than they did against Ireland. They went with a lot of conviction and dedication. It was good.
“We always talk before the games to be focused and ready to play to the end. Our first matches were kind of hard but, again, they made us learn a lot. So we got a lot (out of the competition) and learned a lot of new things from that. We’re going to go back home and practice harder.”