Injuries to national netballers, which saw the Bajan Gems underperforming at the recently concluded Commonwealth Games Down Under in Australia, may be creating even bigger ripples in the current Division 1 season.
The domestic season started weeks ago but only newcomers Wolverines, Goodride Ballers and Spooners Hill were fixtured as they boasted no national players heading off to the Games.
However, the return of those nationals is not seeing a seamless commencement of the competition involving double-crown champions UWI Blackbirds, Pine Hill St Barnabas, C.O. Williams Rangers and Guardian Pride of Villa.
Unfortunately, those “big four” are weakened by injuries, which led to (BNA) a member of the Barbados Netball Association’s board proposing that registration, which was extended to February 19 after being closed on January 31, be reopened “to allow the Division 1 clubs affected to register players to replace those who are unable to play due to injury”.
While some members of the “small three” have expressed their displeasure with the proposal, president of the BNA, Nisha Craigwell, indicated that the board would be meeting tonight to seek a remedy to the situation.
“We have three months to allow those national players to . . . recover sufficiently in order that they can successfully represent Barbados at the qualifiers in August.
“While looking after the welfare of our national players is critical, we also have to consider maintaining our own rules and regulations along with the domestic competition and those clubs that want their chance to compete and perhaps win a title,” said Craigwell.
UWI were to play their first game last night against Goodride but rumours were swirling that the match was to be postponed, with the Blackbirds being rocked the most through injury.
Sheniqua Thomas and Shanice Rock missed the Commonwealth Games with serious injuries while key shooter Shonica Wharton has returned home struggling with a debilitating ankle injury. Former national Kashera Corbin is currently vying for a spot on the CAC basketball team and it is uncertain if she will be suiting up for the Blackbirds netball team.
This year, UWI, who last season fielded tw teams in Division 1, have one Division 1 and a Division 5 team as many of their former players have sought playing spots in other units.
St Barnabas, who have six teams in the BNA’s competitions, are seeking to register the tough Jeneice Clarke to compensate for the hurt defender Shonette Bruce, one bright spot in Australia. Villa would be shortof the flashy Sabreena Smith while Rangers’ Rhe-Ann Mapp, last season’s MVP, and Nikita Payne, who remained in Australia for medical reasons, could be rested from Division 1 action.
While individuals from Spooners Hill, Villa and Goodride did not wish to make public statements, many of their key personnel were not in support of the reopening of the registration.
“We have played matches already, so if registration will be reopened what will happen to our matches? Will those be cancelled?
“Are they are going to change the rules to help the big four? Any help should be given to the weak threenot helping to make the big four bigger!” stressed one player. (KB)