FOLLOWING a series of around the island tours combined with a massive membership drive to revamp the game of netball in the various communities, the St. Lucia Netball Association believes there is a light shining brightly at the end of the tunnel.
With the Independence Netball Classic now into its third week of competition at a number of venues, Jenny St. Croix, Public Relations Officer spoke of some of the SLNA’s plans for 2016.
The Independence Classic features teams in three divisions. Division 1 comprises senior players, Division 2 is made up of intermediates, such as under-23 players and Division 3 includes secondary school teams and under-16 national players currently in training for the Jean Pierre Caribbean Tournament.
As the tournament progresses in Division 1, the girls from Dennery seem a force to be reckoned with, with the experienced Shem Maxwell in the line up. A number of players from the under-16 national team have gone back to the Dennery team to rebuild.
Said St Croix: “Maxwell has also taken along a few of Elite Strikers players so we will not be seeing Elite Strikers this year in the tournament, but there are players who will be playing for Dennery South and Canaries, including the household names of senior national players Judy Mathurin and Tabitha Matty.”
In Division 2, the team that looked very promising was Avengers which includes a number of under-23 national players including Kamala Mangal and Nerissa Augustin. “However, we cannot overlook or bypass Shamrock, a very experienced and determined team. We cannot overlook the teams from The Valley as well. Division 2 is a very interesting group to look forward to; it’s very competitive”, St Croix said.
In Division 3, the teams to look forward to include SJC Egrets, Anse la Raye and Avengers. Mabouya Valley is an inexperienced team, but they are very determined. Said St Croix: “For the likes of me, I do not know where Mabouya Valley got those children. The children are tall they are over 5’8″ almost 6 feet tall. So that is a team we are keeping a close eye on because they are very young and I could see many of them being on the national under-16 or under-23 team as long as we get the skills to match the height”.
She added: “Mabouya Valley is clear cut; they were more determined than the Entrepot Secondary School. Entrepot gave up a good fight. This is the first time Entrepot has played in a tournament; that is a good initiative from the coach Desilva Florton in putting the team together for this tournament so the young girls can sharpen their skills when the inter schools tournament comes around in October. By then they should be more competitive”.
St Croix said the SLNA’s registration drive had helped immensely. “Mabouya Valley registered one team last year, this time around they have registered two teams. It went down to the grassroots level and they have a division 3. Dennery has come back on board; we are seeing the likes of Desruisseaux after five years in the wilderness and also the likes of Anse la Raye and Canaries. We lost Soufriere and Vieux Fort, but then we have Desruisseaux and Mabouya Valley.”