As Grantley Prescod Memorial Primary prepare to defend their Pine Hill Dairy National Sports Council’s Primary School Netball title in two weeks’ time, they had a timely opportunity to train this morning with members of netball team.
The first-time visitors to Barbados are currently on tour with 20-members from the England-based Navy netball squad now wrapping up their 12-day trip to the island with visits to Grantley Prescod Primary and Blackman and Gollop Primary this morning.
The visiting side which has players between ages 19 to 38 have also featured in a couple of competitive matches against Barbados’ best division one netball teams such as University of the West Indies Blackbirds and Pine Hill St. Barnabas.
Sam Husher, the spokesperson for the Royal Navy team which has been in existence for over 20-years, explained that it was customary for the team to travel every year to different countries and this time around Barbados was the preferred choice.
Husher said she was also impressed with the fitness and skill level of Barbadian players and personally signalled out the University of the West Indies team.
“Around the world, they aren’t that many countries that play netball really, and we have done some tours to a couple of places, and we just wanted to come back to the Caribbean, and Barbados just seem really appealing. And because there is a high level of netball here, it looks like an excellent place to come and obviously the weather is beautiful.
“When we played the University of the West Indies, they were outstanding. So, the fitness level is really high; the skill level is also really high, and also they are really competitive, they want to win so much as we do. So, it has been perfect for our matches and really enjoyable.”
The women who are all full time in the military have over the years travelled to St. Lucia, Fiji, United States of America and South Africa just to name a few. Husher made mention of what a wonderful time the group have had so far in Barbados and said they looked forward to returning in the not too distant future.
“Everybody is thrilled to see us, and we have been hosted really well by our travel company and our tour guide. We have been having a perfect time; it has been amazing with site seeing,” she said.
The principal of Grantley Prescod Primary, Belinda Martindale, described the visit by the Royal Navy as amazing and one that was beneficial to her school who are gearing up to defend their netball title.
She also credited her physical education department for the excellent work they have been doing as the school is not just the reigning queens of netball but also kings of the BICO National Sports Council Primary Schools Football Competition.
“It feels amazing. Reason being that these children need a lot of encouragement, we are talking with them, we are trying with them, but it helps to know there are others who could also lay a helping hand. I am really pleased that we were included in the programme this year and I certainly hope it will encourage them in a number of ways because they can be lackadaisical in their whole demeanour. Even for turning out for netball games, we try to encourage them always bring your games clothes and yet we always have a battle where that is concerned. Maybe now they see that they are benefits when they are in their game’s clothes, they will come out here and participate more,” Martindale said.
“The physical education teachers have had to work extremely hard along with the fact that they are involved in clubs outside the school and in their neighbourhoods and that helps a lot. Of course, we can’t do everything by ourselves and that assistance from the community along with the work that the teachers put in helps a lot,” Martindale said.
The senior administrator at the NSC, Adrian Donovan, described the visit as a real pleasure and one that could not have come at a better time.
“Really a pleasure hosting the British Royal Navy, they could not have come at a better time because the Pine Hill Primary Schools Netball Competition will get into full swing in two weeks’ time and Grantley Prescod is the defending champions. So, from a motivating point of view this tour fitted in well this morning,” Donovan said.