Nickesha Lynch wants Cayman netball to reach new heights overseas.
Lynch, 28, is a member of the national women’s team and has been in the sport for 13 years. She says her goal is to lead Cayman to victory in Calgary, Canada.
“I truly love playing netball and being part of the Cayman squad has deepened my love for the game, enhanced my motivation to become a better player and person in general,” Lynch said. “What are my expectations heading to Canada? For the team to place in the top two in order to qualify for the world championships next year in Sydney, Australia.”
The Cayman Islands Netball Association is preparing its top ladies for the 2014 American Federation of Netball Associations Championship on August 19-29. 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.
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.
Lynch is one of 13 girls on the roster, the others are: Carrie Barnett-Carter, Marsha Campbell, Alexis Carias, Kayon Clarke, Katherine Gow, Tashena Parks, Nicola Pringle, Karen Smith-James, Keren Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Rosemarie Wilson and Teneisha Wilson. The group has been training since January.
This is the first women’s team Cayman has fielded at an international event in years. While the ladies have significant experience on the local scene, 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.
Lynch, listed at 5-feet, nine-inches, brings experience and versatility to the Cayman squad. The Rising Stars netball club member has played Wing Defense, Goal Defense and Goal Keeper starting in 2004, when she was with the Exeter Police Youth Club in the Clarendon Netball Association league in Jamaica that placed first in the C League.
From 2005 to 2007, she was captain of the Moneague College squad that placed second in its division. From 2011 to 2012, she was vice captain for the University of Technology team in Jamaica. Lynch also played for Boulevard Baptist Netball team in the Jamaica Netball Association league from 2010 to 2013.
Funding has been an issue for the trip 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.
Lynch states playing in Canada would be a huge honour.
“It would be an honor to represent the Cayman Islands and showcase my talent, high team spirit and sportsmanship.”