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Bajans aiming for 5th spot


SHERRYLYN A. TOPPIN

Bajans aiming for 5th spot

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THE Barbados netball team has set the lofty goal of playing for either fifth or sixth place at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India next month.
Barbados are ranked 11th in the world, and have been drawn in Pool B with reigning gold medallists and world No. 2 New Zealand, bronze medallists England (3), South Africa (6), Cook Islands (10) and Papua New Guinea.
They open their Commonwealth campaign against England on October 4. They left the island on last night for a much-needed ten-day training camp in Crawley, England.
The girls have not played competitive netball since the Americas Federation of Netball Association (AFNA) Championships in St Lucia nearly two months ago.
“We are hoping this preparation gets us to play for at least fifth or sixth place, but we won’t underestimate anyone.
“We [also] have to play South Africa and Cook Islands who are ranked above us, as well as Papua New Guinea who are ranked below us, but they are exposed to the New Zealand style of netball,” head coach Alwyn Babb told SUNSPORT in an interview prior to departure.
The toughest assignments will be against New Zealand and England, and they are hoping to limit the damage, especially against England, and reach the second tier.
While they are in Crawley the team will play five matches. Their opposition includes the premiership champs, the county champs, a junior/Under-21 side, a university team and a combined team of past and present national trialists.
3 new players
The training camp is also important because three new players – Makeba Clarke, Damisha Croney and Faye Sealy – are now in the team and changes have been made to the system since AFNA.
“We’ve added some new plays in both the attack and the defence to ensure there is constant guessing by the opposition as to what you are going to use in a game. When the opposition watch you, they can predict. We don’t want to be predictable,” he said.

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