Cayman’s netball team took on its regional rivals last weekend and rose above the fray.
Both Cayman’s senior and Under 16 team played in the Battle of the Saints tournament in St. Maarten last weekend, with each emerging as champions of the four-day competition.
Cayman’s senior team went undefeated in six matches, beating St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbuda, and St. Kitts and Nevis twice each to take the tournament championship. Cayman’s last game against Antigua and Barbuda was especially close, with the team earning a 46-41 victory on Sunday.
Earlier in the tournament, Cayman had beaten Antigua and Barbuda by 66-29. Both of Cayman’s games against St. Maarten were one-sided, with Cayman notching wins of 69-19 and 65-22.
Cayman had been ranked No. 34 following a ranking tournament in May, and it dropped one place due to inactivity prior to the Battle of the Saints tournament. Now, after their championship performance, senior team coach Lyneth Monteith is excited by the way Cayman netball performed on a big stage.
“I’m tremendously proud of the ladies. We had some areas to work on when we came back in May, and between May and October, we certainly beefed up our training and our fitness,” she said. “We included beach training, road running, running in the gym and personal training. Really, when the girls went to St. Maarten, they were much stronger and fitter than they were previously. That helped.”
Monteith said that Cayman’s improved fitness was especially key on the back-to-back days where the team was forced to play two games.
Cayman’s junior team drew one game, won one game and lost a game en route to its championship. Monteith credited U16 coach Nicola Hunter for presiding over the team’s improvement.
“They’re really up and coming. They certainly are the future of netball,” said Monteith. “As you get older on the senior team, you’re looking to get into coaching and giving back. We need to be grooming the younger ones. Our team has 12-year-olds and 13-year-olds, so that bodes well for the future.”
The teams returned home Sunday night and among those greeting the athletes at the airport were MLA David Wight, councillor for the Ministry of Sports.