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Netballer off on scholarship

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by Sherrylyn A. ToppinSENIOR national netballer Tonisha Rock-Yaw is the latest player to have secured a scholarship to St Bede’s School in East Sussex, England.Rock-Yaw, a former student of The Lester Vaughan School, will be following in the footsteps of Makeba Clarke and Jehlesal Brathwaite who recently completed their two-year stint in Sixth Form, playing and training with the school and a premier league club.The scholarship was organised by Julian Annel of The Sports Facilitator which arranges tours of schools and colleges.“Tonisha’s netball development has been very enterprising and entertaining to watch. She showed all the right attributes when watched by the St Bede’s netball coach who travelled here to see her first hand through my recommendation,” he said.“Her netball record speaks for itself with her being selected to represent the Under-16 and Under-21 [teams] in the same year and only recently she has progressed into the senior national squad. The ability to play in both circles will be very useful for her and also an asset to the school.”
National dutyAnnel said Rock-Yaw would continue to train at a level where she would be available for national duty.Octavia Gibson, president of the Barbados Netball Association, was pleased to see the trend continue.“I think it augurs well for netball. It shows that you can get a scholarship in netball and I hope that we can attract universities where we can get scholarships at that level,” Gibson said.Meanwhile, Rock-Yaw is “very, very excited” about the opportunity. “I am going to go out there and make myself, the Barbados Netball Association and Barbados proud,” the 16-year-old said.She spoke to Clarke who told her about the school and the challenge of balancing her time, and is totally focused on pursuing media studies, aiming to become a sports journalist.
Senior capRock-Yaw recently received her first senior cap as the youngest member of the Barbados team at the Americas Federation of Netball Association Championships in St Lucia. While it generally was a “good experience”, she said it also made her adjust her thinking.“I was the youngest on the team and when [coach Alwyn Babb] first told me to go and play wing defence, I said I would go out there and do my best,” she said.“It was not any different from Under-16, but I was playing with older people and I had to adjust my attitude from I’m not a little girl anymore, I am not just 16. I am at the top.”With that experience, the Brydens Club member is ready to take on the world and could be playing at home next February when St Bede’s makes their biennial trip to Barbados.