Local coaches are optimistic about netball’s future in the Cayman Islands.
After the national Under-21 team’s performance at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland, stalwarts like Lyneth Monteith feel one of Cayman’s focus sports is in good shape.
“The performances showed promise for the future of netball,” Monteith said. “It also showed the grit and determination of the group. Due to tournament structure, the players were not able to play at least one other opponent, which could have resulted in a higher ranking. The results indicate that the continuation of netball is alive and well. I am positive that we have the talent to move the sport forward.
“To build on this beginning, funding is needed to increase netballers’ international exposure. In addition, the training of the players will need to step up a notch. This game, at the highest levels, involves players to be extremely fit as well as developing the skills and strategies of the game. The players were perhaps not at that optimum in any of those areas.”
Cayman finished 17th out of 20 countries with three wins in seven games at Glasgow’s £113 million Emirates Arena. Cayman lost all of its games during group play in Pool C: 73-21 to host country Scotland, 98-2 to Jamaica, 94-10 to Wales and 74-24 to Samoa.
The girls then rallied with three straight victories in the round robin consolation playoffs, beating Ireland, 62-26, Israel, 71-26 and Malta, 49-48. The victories were a first for local netball as the girls made their debut in the competition.
Monteith is one of the vice presidents of the Cayman Islands Netball Association and served as assistant coach for the national team alongside Nicola Williams. Joining Monteith and Williams in Scotland were technical director Gillian Lee, team managers Andrea Singh and Adena Miller and delegates Lucille Seymour and Norma Ferryman.
Representing Cayman were 12 young ladies: Alexis Carias, 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.
Most figure to be in action in a trio of local competitions. The association is staging its Camana Bay Summer Mixed League, which started last Thursday. Matches are slated to run at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Centre on Thursdays for about a month, culminating on Oct. 17.
Early focus will be on last year’s winners Rising Stars, behind Collin Anglin, the Blazers, who marched through the regular season unbeaten with Gavin Watts and Stay Alive, the consolation winners who featured Ovaine Monteith.
An Under-16 league will start this Saturday, Sept. 14. Matches will take place every Saturday, 4:30-6:30 p.m., at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts until Oct. 12. The league is part of the association’s attempt to field an Under-16 national team ahead of the Caribbean Championships next April.
From there, the 2013-214 national women’s competition will close out the year. Dubbed the Appleby Netball League, the opening parade on Nov. 16 serves as the tournament’s official start.
Lee said Cayman netball has much to learn from its Scotland experience.
“We’ve got a lot more development to go in Cayman … I hope they’ve learned about what it is to play at a high standard, how much teams have the desire and do everything consistently well all of the time,” said Lee. “That’s something that they don’t get week in, week out in Cayman so for them, hopefully, they’ve learned how much every center pass, every throw-in is important.
“Personally, I must say I have been thinking a lot about development in Cayman and what it is we need to do to progress from 17th up to [a higher ranking]. The work we’ve got to do with our current grade sixes, our 12-year-olds, the next time we get an opportunity to play it will be even better. We’re looking to put together a senior team so, hopefully, a lot of these girls will try and step up to that and play in the Caribbean tournaments.”