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THREE of Barbados’ young netball talents Shonte Seale, Amanda Knight and Vanessa Bobb are set to make their international senior debut when Uganda arrives for a three-Test series next month.
Both Seale and Bobb, who are strong defenders and adept midcourt players, along with the versatile Knight, have been members of all Barbados junior squads leading up to this stage. Knight is an upper sixth student at Queen’s College where current UWI, Cave Hill student Bobb is an old scholar.
Seale, who is a player with tremendous leap, is a sixth former at Springer Memorial. She celebrated her 19th birthday last week and she is also an invitee to the Barbados senior volleyball team having turned out for the junior squad.
Bobb had been chosen as a replacement for vice-captain Latonia Blackman in 2014 when a misplaced passport had threatened Blackman’s participation in the World Cup Qualifiers in Canada. Blackman later joined the team and Bobb never received her senior team colours.
Bobb and Seale will also be on the Commonwealth team which heads off to the Gold Coast in April. The experienced Nikita Payne, who had missed national and domestic action last year to take care of maternal duties, return to both squads while the injured Shanice Rock and Sheniqua Thomas are out.
There was no room for rookie Rashida Chase or the tough defender Sade Browne, who made her debut last year when she graduated from Cave Hill with first class honours in economics.
The Commonwealth team will be led by Rhe-Ann Niles and will comprise, Blackman, Payne, Shonette Azore-Bruce, Toneisha Rock-Yaw, Shonica Wharton, Damisha Croney, Teresa Howell, Rieah Holder, Sabreena Smith, Seale and Bobb.
That 12 will be joined by Knight along with goal shooter Stefanie Patrick and defender Tshanie Foster, who turned out for Unity Stars. While Foster will be playing for Stars in Division 2 this season, it is understood that Patrick will be moving to Wolverines, who will be making their debut in Division 1.
President of the Barbados Netball Association Nisha Craigwell indicated that the versatility of the players gave the selectors many options in spite of some injuries.
“We have many players in the squad who can fit into a number of positions which provide greater strength and options for the coaches,” Craigwell said.
“Following the Uganda series and Commonwealth, there will be competition for the World Cup qualifiers, so players who were injured and those who were just outside of selection will have ample opportunities to battle for selection which can only continue the further growth of our domestic and national netball,” added Craigwell.
Squad for Uganda Test series: Rhe-Ann Niles (captain, Rangers), Latonia Blackman (vice-captain, Brittons Hill), Shonette Azore-Bruce (St. Barnabas), Toneisha Rock-Yaw (Rangers), Shonica Wharton (UWI Blackbirds), Nikita Payne (Rangers), Damisha Croney (UWI Blackbirds), Teresa Howell (UWI Blackbirds), Rieah Holder (UWI Blackbirds), Sabreena Smith (Brittons Hill), Shonte Seale (St. Barnabas), Vanessa Bobb (St. Barnabas), Amanda Knight (Newbury Stars), Stefanie Patrick (Unity Stars), Tshanie Foster (Unity Stars)
Commonwealth Games squad: Rhe-Ann Niles (captain, Rangers), Latonia Blackman (vice-captain, Brittons Hill), Shonette Azore-Bruce (St. Barnabas), Toneisha Rock-Yaw (Rangers), Shonica Wharton (UWI Blackbirds), Nikita Payne (Rangers), Damisha Croney (Blackbirds), Teresa Howell (UWI Blackbirds), Rieah Holder (UWI Blackbirds), Sabreena Smith (Brittons Hill), Shonte Seale (St Barnabas), Vanessa Bobb (St Barnabas). (KB)