Cayman plans to send some of its best netball talent to Canada.
The Cayman Islands Netball Association has announced the members of its national women’s team competing at the 2014 American Federation of Netball Associations Championship on August 19-29 in Calgary. The roster consists of 13 ladies: Carrie Barnett-Carter, Marsha Campbell, Alexis Carias, Kayon Clarke, Katherine Gow, Nickesha Lynch, Tashena Parks, Nicola Pringle, Karen Smith-James, Keren Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Rosemarie Wilson, Teneisha Wilson. Gow, one of the more prominent team members, said she is excited to represent Cayman.
“Playing for the Cayman Islands would be an absolute privilege and a fantastic opportunity,” Gow said. “To play the sport I love at an international level would be a dream come true.” All of the ladies have significant experience on the local scene, with Barnett-Carter and Pringle starring for national champions Roma. Few have competed on the international level, with Carias, Webb and Rosemarie Wilson competing for Cayman’s national Under-21 team at the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships in Scotland. Cayman marked its debut at that competition by finishing 17th out of 20 countries with three wins in seven games.
The Calgary tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2015 World Netball Championships in Australia, with the top teams earning automatic berths. Cayman is among the association’s member countries in the Americas region. The latest International Netball Federation World Rankings were released in April and show New Zealand at No. 1 just ahead of Australia and England.
Cayman is looking to catch up with its Caribbean neighbors. Jamaica is fourth in the world, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago are ninth and tenth, respectively, St. Lucia is 15th and Bermuda is 31st. A pair of Caribbean countries are in the process of gaining a world ranking in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Cayman’s presence in Calgary is in doubt as the association is short of roughly $38,000 for the trip. According to association secretary Onicia Mitchell, a total of $60,000 is needed and in the past few months, approximately $22,000 has been raised through fundraising events, such as fish fries. The association is now planning a raffle on June 30 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts to make a further dent in the amount required. Local ladies have been training since January.