Opening parade to provide colorful start to new season

Local netball is about to showcase its flair for pageantry.

The Cayman Islands Netball Association is putting on its annual uniform parade on Nov. 29 at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts. The event, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m., is part of the opening ceremony for the 2014-2015 national women’s league.

The parade is an occasion for local teams to display their kits, their passion for the sport with cheerleading-style flair and their desire for early bragging rights. A number of squads are hoping to replicate last year’s results. Prospect Primary School won the 2013 Under-9 division ahead of George Town Primary and Red Bay Primary. George Town won the Under-11 category, ahead of Red Bay and Prospect. The John Gray High School Blazers won the high school competition and Rising Stars Netball Club won the adult segment, ahead of Flames Strikers and All Stars Netball Club.

News of the parade comes after an eventful 2013-2014 campaign. In April of this year, Roma won the Appleby Netball League – the national women’s competition – after being out of the tournament for about two years. The squad, part of Roma United Sports Club, featured veterans like stalwarts Stacey-Ann Dehaney and Kay Copeland alongside new recruits such as Joanne Ziegler and Keisha Solomon. Previous two-time winners Conyers All Stars were the runners-up.

There were a total of 14 teams in the competition, with a handful claiming trophies. Karen Smith-James and Cayman National Bank All Stars, along with Amy Bothwell of Blue Diamonds, would claim division titles by beating Rising Stars B and Jacques Scott Social, respectively. Consolation honors were handed to Rising Stars A, Affinity Sapphires and the University College of the Cayman Islands.

From there, the association staged an inaugural, one-month Fast Net tournament – which crowned Rising Stars as champions back in June. Matches, which began in May, used much of the same rules as the Fast5 version of the sport outlined by the International Federation of Netball Associations. Fast5 is a quicker style of netball with three major differences: teams can only field five players on the court, as opposed to seven; teams can decide on a “power play” quarter where goals count for double points and long-range shots can count for two or three points, depending on the location.

Aside from Rising Stars, the competition featured Fierce Five, Affinity, Fusion, UCCI and Ernst and Young.

In August, Cayman sent a national women’s team to Calgary, Canada for the 2014 Americas Federation of Netball Associations Championship. The local ladies lost five of their six matches to finish sixth out of seven teams. Representing Cayman were: Carrie Barnett-Carter, Marsha Campbell, Alexis Carias, Kayon Clarke, team captain Katherine Gow, Nickesha Lynch, Tashena Parks, Nicola Pringle, Karen Smith-James, Keren Watson, Aaliyah Webb, Rosemarie Wilson and Teneisha Wilson.

Since then, the association has been staging its primary and high school leagues. Competing teams represent most of the educational institutions in Cayman from West Bay and Savannah Primary to Clifton Hunter and John Gray High.

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