Men in the Cayman Islands can now join women in pursuit of netball glory.
The Cayman Islands Netball Association is hosting its Summer Mixed League, presented by Camana Bay. The Arts and Recreation Centre hosts matches through to October.
The competition tipped off last Thursday with five squads storming the court in the Blazers, Rising Stars, Stay Alive, Lone Star-Boos Mix and The Bold and the Beautiful. Labelled a preseason night, teams got a chance to shake off the rust and get accustomed to the indoor surface.
Matches were 12 minutes long and umpired by stalwarts in the sport like Stacy-Ann Dehaney and Maria Kennedy. At first glance, the sides offer an interesting mix of talent. For example, Rising Stars had veterans like Marcia Moiten play alongside Damian McField while Stay Alive featured basketball legend Ovaine Monteith.
Interestingly, the mixed league was last held in the summer of 2010. The Frank Hall Homes Blazers emerged champions for the first time behind a collection of netball stars such as Stacy Reid-Satahoo, Molly-Ann Moore and Cynthia Collington. There was also an impressive array of male talent like basketball star Gary ‘Butcher’ McLaughlin.
Many of the ladies on that Blazers team formed the 2012 All Stars A squad, which claimed Cayman’s national netball championship. All Stars would defeat their rivals, two-time winners Roma A, at Camana Bay back in May. It marked the first time a national finals was held indoors.
Mixed league matches are scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6.30pm. Initially, Saturday games were part of the schedule. In an interesting quirk, games for the next three weeks will take place at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex netball courts.
On Thursday, 13 September, a triple-header takes place with games lasting until about 9.30pm. In addition to the aforementioned teams, the Flames Strikers will join the fray.