'Netball pon di kanha' makes grand entry in Pembroke Hall
New community initiative by Netball Jamaica reaps early success
'NETBALL pan di kanha' an initiative by the Netball Association of Jamaica to take the national team into various communities across the island, had a successful launch on Monday, December 23 at the Pembroke Hall Multi-Purpose Court in Kingston. The event is also designed to inspire talented netball players.
Many members of the community packed inside the complex and some stood and watched through the surrounding chain-link fences as the Sunshine Girls were put through their paces.
The Girls had their regular training session, which consisted of a number of drills conducted by head coach Oberon Pitterson- Nattie and members of her coaching staff. This was followed by an exhibition game between the Girls and the Pembroke Hall Netball team.
As expected, the Girls overran the very nervous Pembroke Hall team but it proved to be a good opportunity for the young players to rub shoulders with the national players during the 20-minute game. At the end of the game members of the team posed with the eager members of the Pembroke Hall team.
The event, which was being promoted as a "family affair", turned out to be just that for one family in particular. Sisters, Brithney McKenzie and Kaylea-Ashley McKenzie, along with their cousin Tiffanie Williams, all played for the Pembroke Hall team during the game while their mothers watched on nervously and excitedly from the sidelines.
A beaming Sophia Howell, mother of the McKenzie sisters, spoke of her joy at watching her girls play against the Sunshine Girls.
"I am the proudest mother on the planet tonight. To see my two daughters and niece play with the Sunshine Girls is a blessing. I am so happy for this initiative and that it started here in our community, in Pembroke Hall. My daughters and my niece are truly inspired and I am sure that this same thing, replicated throughout the country, will have a similar effect whereever they go. Netball Jamaica has struck gold."
Kaylea-Ashley recently captained the Our Lady of the Angels Prep School netball team to their first title in the Jamaica Independent Schools Association (JISA) Netball Championships.
Kerry Smith, coach of the Pembroke Hall team, spoke of how much the game meant to his players, saying "It means a lot to the community and to the team. The experience will go a far way. Some of them couldn't sleep last night because they were so excited to be playing against the Sunshine Girls.
"Now they will be able to say that they played against the Sunshine Girls. This will definitely inspire the team and the community as a whole."
Presentations of two netballs and a rules book each, were made to the coaches of the Pembroke Hall and Marverly teams.
The Sunshine Girls will continue their preparations for the Tri-nation Series next January in England, which will also feature New Zealand. The tournament will run from January 17th - 21st with matches being played at the Wembley and Cooper Box Arenas.