Katherine Gow believes Cayman netball can excel overseas.
Gow, 30, a member of the national women’s team, has been in the sport for more than 20 years. She says Cayman has the talent to be victorious in Calgary, Canada.
“We have been working hard since January and are finally starting to see the hard work pay off on court,” Gow said. “It is time for Cayman to establish a ranking and compete on an international level and I think we have a great squad that can cause an upset.”
The Cayman Islands Netball Association is preparing its top ladies for the 2014 American Federation of Netball Associations Championship on Aug. 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 10th, 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.
Gow is among 13 girls on the roster: Carrie Barnett-Carter, Marsha Campbell, Alexis Carias, Kayon Clarke, Nickesha Lynch, Tashena Parks, Nicola Pringle, Karen Smith-James, Keren Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Rosemarie Wilson and Teneisha Wilson. The group has been training since January.
Gow says she is pleased to be representing Cayman.
“I am extremely excited at the prospect of representing the Cayman Islands at the AFNA tournament. I am proud to be representing this wonderful country and just can’t wait to get there! Playing for Cayman will be an absolute privilege and a fantastic opportunity. To play the sport I love at an international level will be a dream come true.”
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.
Funding has been an issue for the Canada trip as the association needed a total of $60,000 and struggled to raise over half of that sum in the past few months.
Gow, listed at 5-feet, 6-inches, brings experience and versatility to the Cayman squad. The Conyers All Stars netball club member has played Center, Wing Attack and Wing Defense with most of her early experience coming in England. She represented the county of West Yorkshire at the Under-14, Under-16 and Under-18 levels, was club captain at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne in 2004 and played for Dominoes netball club based in Manchester, which competes in Premier 2 of the English National League. Gow says the Calgary trip signifies her first shot at international netball.
“I have been playing netball since I was nine, following in the footsteps of my elder sister and mother. I have thoroughly enjoyed adapting to the Caribbean style of netball over the last three-and-a-half years. I do not have international experience; the closest I have come is playing one season for Leeds Met in the Super League Netball Championship in England, which is competed between eight teams.”