Blazers staying sharp as Rising Stars keep shining

Men and women are playing for netball glory.

The Cayman Islands Netball Association started its Camana Bay Summer Mixed League last Thursday. The next round of games are slated for Thursday from 6:30 p.m. at Camana Bay’s Arts and Recreation Center. The league has five teams – the Blazers, Ernst and Young Sunbeams, Mixers, Rising Stars and Unity.

Gillian Lee serves as national coach and Cayman’s technical director for netball. The Australian said she is still caught up in Cayman’s participation at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland.

“As far as their performance, they went and put their best out there,” Lee said. “That’s all we can ask from them. For Scotland, their buildup has been enormous and for our girls as well. This is a massive thing, not only travelling to the other side of the world but being in the world championships from little, tiny Cayman. It’s a huge life experience for them all.

“It’s been a long year, the girls have learned an awful lot. They haven’t had anyone really looking after netball [as a technical director] in Cayman [for years]. I’ve just been there for the last 15 months from Australia, so they’ve really had to develop both in the fundamentals and tactics of the game.”

The national Under-21 team finished 17th of 20, with three wins in seven games at Glasgow’s £113 million Emirates Arena.

Mixed league action started last Thursday at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts.

Rising Stars beat Sunbeams, 22-6; while Unity beat Mixers, 10-7; and Blazers beat Mixers, 18-12, in an exhibition contest. Matches are slated to run on Thursdays for about a month, culminating on Oct. 17.

Early focus will be on last year’s winners Stars, behind Collin Anglin and Blazers, who marched through the regular season unbeaten with Gavin Watts.