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Netball officials call for COVID caution

Published:Wednesday | July 8, 2020 | 12:19 AMKavarly Arnold/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Netball stakeholders in western Jamaica believe that while the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association (ISSA) netball competitions are important to the development of the sport in the region, caution must be observed ahead of the proposed October start to the season.

Last week, ISSA announced plans to start basketball, netball, and the under-16 football competitions in early October. The daCosta Cup and Manning Cup (under-19) football competitions have a proposed October 31 start date.

Sharon Woodstock, netball coach of Anchovy High School, which has been, in recent times, the most successful team in the west, believes staging the ISSA netball season will be too big an ask with all the uncertainty and challenges faced.

“Right now it’s a wait-and-see situation. I don’t even know if we will enter for this year, because I for one is not willing to put my students’ health at risk. I personally think we should use this year to figure out where do we go next year, because this COVID-19 is here to stay. If (the competition is) possible, I think the quality will be very low. I’m going to maintain my position that I think this year we should scrap the competition,” Woodstock told The Gleaner.

“It is going to be difficult, based on the fact that we have to practise social-distancing. It is going to affect everyone; players and coaches. I am not sure how or when training will be possible. As stipulated by ISSA for football, there will have to be some staggered training sessions, and I would want to think that we would have to adopt this for netball,” she added.


Her position is supported by Tricia Robinson, president of Netball Jamaica, who underlined that while she would love to see the competition take place, there is much to consider.

“We have to be responsible about it. I would love for the competition to happen. I can only imagine how anxious they are to return to play. However, as I said, we are reopening and we have to be cautious and responsible in how we do it,” Robinson said.

Meanwhile, president of the St James Netball Association, Gina Haughton, is certainly hoping to see some action this year, as she believes the competition is simply too important to the development of the sport for an effort not to be made to stage the competitions.

“It is very important because it is the foundation for netball playing for most girls. Most of them would not have been exposed to netball before high school if they didn’t attend a primary school that is involved in the under-12 programme. The ISSA competition plays an integral part in the development of the sport,” said Haughton, who is also a lecturer at Sam Sharpe Teachers’ College.