24 August, 2014.
That’s the last time the Cayman Islands Netball Association (CINA) senior team won an international game. However, with seven changes to the squad that was blanked by Canada in October, the team is off to compete once again. This time, on the Isle of Man for the Netball Europe Open Challenge 9-12 May.
As the team searches for its first win in almost five years, it sports new coaches, players, and, they say, a renewed commitment. A successful showing could go a long way in proving why netball is still worth the community’s attention.
“If you look at the stats, some of them have three caps,” said new head coach Lyneth Monteith of her roster. “We’ve had some playing since the Under-16s, so you have that progression coming through, and the balance of skill is what will make the big difference.”
What would a win do for the Cayman Islands senior netball programme? Katherine Gow hopes it will provide confidence the team has lacked in past years.
“It would be huge,” said Gow. “I think we are starting to believe it which is the key this time. We’ve been away before, and expected to lose, but we believe in ourselves this time. It will be really special if we get to win this time around.”
Three years of consecutive losses to Canada in three different tri-series have taken their toll on senior netballers. Monteith, however, says tactical changes made by a new coaching staff will make all the difference against the likes of Israel, Gibraltar, Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland, along with the United Kingdom’s Armed Forces, and the United Arab Emirates.
“When we went to Canada, we were down in the defensive area,” said Monteith. “This team has defense, center court and shooters. We have players who are versatile and can play any sector of the game. That’s important.”
At the end of the day, Gow says a more diverse squad stands a better chance at beating a field of more comparable competition over another tour of Canada that will leave the team deflated of both confidence and ambition.
“The key for this tournament is playing teams more ranked around our ability,” said Gow. “Now, we’ve got a chance to go out and show what we are made of.”
In the absence of a technical director, Monteith says the programme has shifted to a volunteer approach for both financing and coaching led by herself, assistant coach Nicola Williams, and team managers Ida Jane Ebanks and Adena Miller at both the junior and senior level. With limited funding, the senior team was forced to bet on themselves, raising CI $10,000 for the travel and accommodations; a necessity Coach Monteith hopes will change with a few wins.
“We don’t attract the big sponsors, so I think that is what going out and winning, and showing the team is going places will attract,” said Monteith. “I have no doubt it will attract the big sponsors.”
Here is a look at the Cayman Islands National Senior Netball team’s schedule for the 2019 Netball Europe Open Challenge:
Thursday 9 May
CAY v Rep of Ireland
CAY v Gibraltar
Friday 10 May
CAY v United Arab Emirates
CAY v Isle of Man
Saturday 11 May
CAY v UK AFNA
Sunday 12 May
CAY v Israel
Here is the Cayman Islands Netball Association national senior team for the Netball Europe Open Challenge:
Head Coach: Lyneith Monteith
Assistant Coach: Nicola Williams
Team Managers: Adena Miller, Ida Jane Ebanks
*National senior team debut