On Target
May 28, 2010
A boost is a booster

It was indeed a welcome boost to Netball that Vita Malt Maple won the Courts OECS Champion of Champions Club Tournament last weekend in St. Kitts.{{more}}

Not only is it something to smile about for Netball, but a rare opportunity to celebrate in sports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

But Netball needed it most, as since 2007, when the Under-23 team retained their OECS title, there has been a dearth in wins, even at the sub-regional level.

Years ago, at the OECS stage, it was almost a foregone conclusion that Vincentian teams were always up there. But it has not been so for the past decade.

So, again this country has redeemed itself, albeit at the OECS level, but at least local Netballers have reminded their counterparts that they are still a force to be reckoned with.

Again, the Windwards and Leewards competitions are not the best barometers to assess our Netball.

Kudos must be given to those at the administrative level of Maple who have held that Club together for close to 60 years, making it the oldest Netball club in the OECS.

However, it may be time for some recruitment of younger players to take place in the club, but at the same time not compromising the ideals of the club, one of which is discipline, which is very much absent in many other units.

Maybe this is the reason that younger players are not attracted to the Maple set up.

Yes, there is a young team in place under the Maple banner, but over time, we have seen that same feeder of players wandering off to other units when they reach the stage of graduation.

When one looks at the players who journeyed to St. Kitts last weekend, most of them are over the age of 30. So that tells half of the story, as in the next few years replacements will be needed.

Yes, experience counted for their triumph in the most recent competition, but this cannot be the lynch-pin always, as there is that need for a blend with youthful exuberance.

But this country has another chance to continue the winning trend at the OECS level, when the ECCB sponsored Under-23 championships are hosted here next month. It is the right time to reclaim on home soil that title which has eluded us during the two most recent attempts.

Again, winning is important as we seek to hold on to any straw that will keep us afloat in the limelight.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines holds the record for the most wins in this championship.

It also comes at the right time as the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association plans to launch its Youth Development Programme this Saturday, as they chart ways to build the sport from the ground up, whilst trying to maintain a top mark at the other end.

The Youth Development Programme targets girls between the ages f 12 and 16.

But while the local national Executive endeavours to get the game back on to a stable footing, there still leaves a gaping hole in the developmental thrust as the Primary Schools Competition is indeed a crucial hub.

While this aspect is in the hands of the Ministries of Education and Sports, the SVGNA should make a greater push towards ensuring that this phase of Netball development becomes a focal point.

It need not be explained that capturing our young ladies at the pre teen ages is the best for the sport, both in interest and fundamentals.

No boost, though, for the continued presence of the “Mound” at the Sion Hill Playing Field.

email: kingroache@yahoo.com