On Target
June 25, 2010
OECS Under-23 Netball Tournament in review

St. Vincent and the Grenadines has successfully hosted the 20th edition of the ECCB OECS Under-23 Netball Tournament which ended on June 16.{{more}}

It was the fourth occasion on which this country was doing so. It was also the first time that this country did not lift the title at home. We are still, however, the only host to have won the championships. It also means that St. Vincent and the Grenadines remains as the winner of twelve titles.

Administration

Of course, there were hitches, but all is well that ended well. One got the impression, though, that there was a lack of cohesion among the organizers.

At the Candle Light Ceremony at the National Lotteries Authority Hard Court at Richmond Hill, President of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netbal Association Godfrey Harry was seen having to remove the tents, among other things.

Whilst I would not go as far as saying it is a menial task that does not befit a President, a host, one would have thought that he should be more of a host than a bottle washer.

But probably that is Harry’s nature, wanting to make certain the work is done.

At times, too, I thought that some persons wanted the event to fail to make a Harry look bad.

If this is true, it is bad, as it was St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was on show, not Mr. Harry.

It was surely a slip up not to have the OECS Sports Director and a representative from the sponsors included on the official programme of the closing ceremony.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ Performance

St. Vincent and the Grenadines finished third, behind Grenada and St. Kitts, in that order.

This after five wins, one draw and a loss.

To put things into perspective, our team was nippy in their play but not robust. When it mattered most, they lacked the fight and tenacity to go that extra mile and seemed not to have wanted the prize as much as Grenada perhaps did.

Certainly, St. Vincent and the Grenadines had basically no “home court advantage”, as at times, when the chips were down, the little moral support that was given at the Arnos Vale Sports Complex, on the last two days, against Grenada and St. Kitts, respectively, was counter productive.

With some supporters’ eagerness to throw support behind the locals, at times there were some unfair comments. Additionally, one player did not help as she clearly displayed a bad attitude, and her comments were not pleasant to the ear of those who heard her.

Harry and company, while harnessing young Netball talent, should pay greater attention to players’ attitude and their all round deportment, especially when they are representing this nation state of ours.

Camaraderie

When the OECS Sports Desk was set up years ago, regional competitions, greater camaraderie and a more close knit sub region were the obvious objectives. From my vantage point, there was a level of mistrust that came from some of the visiting umpires, especially towards the Vincentian team and the integrity of table officials.

Suggestions

It is time that the Executive of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Netball Association settle on a long term coach for this Under- 23 team.

For the past five competitions, the players have been exposed to four coaches. This is not good for team building, long term planning, execution and bonding.

Also, after twenty uninterrupted years of the Under-23 championships, the time may have come to shift to an Under-20 or Under-21 format.

With a Caribbean Under-16 Tournament, an annual event, this Under-20 or 21 competition among the OECS states will bridge that wide age group gap.

It is my belief that at age 22, most netballers worth their salt should be in the senior national team or on the verge of getting there.

Additionally, several players are lost between age 16 and 23, as there is not much to look forward to, by way of competition in that age group.

I am still calling for the total removal of the Mound at the Sion Hill Playing Field.