Blackman and Gollop coach Calvin Briggs is happy with a ministerial decision that has allowed schools the opportunity to have A and B teams contest the National Sports Council’s Pine Hill Dairy-sponsored Primary Schools Netball Championship.
The championship commenced this morning at the Netball Stadium with an opening ceremony that featured 39 teams on parade and was attended by assistant director of sports, Mona Alleyne, former outstanding national netball players such as Marion Johnson-Hurley, Inez Taylor and Marva Sealy along with proud sponsors for the past 34 years Pine Hill Dairy which was represented by category manager, Henry Harewood.
Briggs told Barbados TODAY that even though he was willing to comply with the rules he could not help but remain puzzled over some of the decisions being made. He said for instance in a recent meeting with the National Sports Council many of the physical education teachers enquired whether the two five minutes per half playing time could be extended and they were told no. The reason given was that the pupils had to be back at school by 12 o’clock.
“It puzzles me why at netball games the children have to get back to school but we are at National Primary Schools Athletics Championship sometimes at seven o’clock at night. We go to cricket which starts at ten o’clock and depending on how good or bad they [the teams] are, we end up being at cricket sometimes until three because some teams bat out the twenty-five overs. However when it comes to netball what I am hearing now is that children have to be back at school by twelve o’clock. Is it that the children have to be back at school by twelve or the coaches want to get out of the sun by twelve o’clock, which is it?” Briggs queried.
The St David’s, Christ Church team have won the title twice in 2014 and 2015 under Briggs and will be seeking to capture their third consecutive trophy with what he described as an entirely new team.
“This is an entirely new group and they have been working hard as usual and they do most of the work contrary to popular beliefs. I don’t drill them, they do all the work, they play at lunch time, they love the sport and would do the best they can while enjoying the sport,” said the successful coach who also won three championship at St Mary’s Primary when he was their physical education coach.
Organizers in an effort to encourage more court time have decided to amalgamate the various zones with the exception of two. As it stands the Bridgefield Zone will now be called the Angela Gibbs and Anna Shepherd Zone; the Stadium Zone is now the Kathy Harper Hall and Agnes Crichlow Zone; Police Zone will be referred to as the Marion Johnson- Hurley and Carolyn Sinckler Zone and the St Phillip Zone is the Marva Sealy and Inez Taylor Zone. The Pamala Proverbs Zone which will be played at James Bryan Auditorium and the Speightstown Zone bearing the name of late National Sports Council coach Sonia Knight are the only two that have not been amalgamated.
It seems many of the primary school coaches were unaware of the structure that allows schools to enter a B team. But Alleyne cleared that up when she explained that the A team would be comprised of class four students while the B side would be made up of students from classes two and three.
She said: “We are conscious of the fact that there are some class twos who are playing so we settled to have them play also [in the B team] because they are the ones that would be graduating to class three and four and would be sustaining the sport at the schools so this is the structure that we have put in place.”
Alleyne encouraged the young participants to keep playing the sport even after they left primary school. She noted netball was the number one female team sport in the world and that it could afford them countless opportunities.
After the speeches were concluded the Aileen Jeffers Rally took place and in the final Vauxhall Primary defeated Ignatius Byer 1-0. Games scheduled for tomorrow at the Netball Stadium in the Kathy Harper-Hall and Agnes Crichlow Zone have been cancelled. Games will continue on Monday May 9 with the Sonia Knight Zone at Speightstown.
(Please also see Pages 40 & 41)