St Mary residents treated to netball rally
Last week, hundreds of adults and children journeyed to the Social Development Commission (SDC)'s head office in Clonmel, St Mary, for the agency's inaugural Netball Rally and children's christmas treat for development areas in South East St Mary.
In the final of the competition, the team from Richmond defeated their opponents from Annotto Bay to collect the winning trophy and a cash prize of $30,000.
Speaking after the match, a member of the winning team, Grace Burke, told Rural Xpress: "I think this netball competition was a very cool idea. The other teams were softer than us, so it was great. Personally, I'm elated and it feels really good to have won.
"It's good the SDC hosts events like this because they enhance social backgrounds and help to develop bonds between people who have never met before. I'll definitely be taking part next year."
The SDC's community development officer for Annotto Bay and Wag Water Valley, Gerdeen Sutherland, who coordinated the rally, said: "We usually, have an SDC netball competition during the summer, but realised there?s a low turnout and teams are not participating because of the rules and age restrictions.
"There is a dying culture in this side of St Mary, so we decided to boost persons within this space by having communities come together, network, and develop some community spirit by playing netball. We really weren't rigid with the rules, so there was no age limit and males could be on the teams."
Sutherland also noted that as an incentive, the competition winners received a cash prize, along with the top three runners up (Annotto Bay, Lewistore, and Enfield).
She said: "We wanted to give persons some incentives, so they got cash to spend at Christmas time, and each team received a netball so they have something to practise with for the SDC's competition coming up in June.
"Overall, the day went well. I would have liked to have had more teams registering, but we do believe that because it was the first event, some teams did not participate, and because it's the eve of Christmas Eve, some young ladies are busy shopping and getting their nails done," she laughed.
"But now people are aware of the competition, they will look forward to it for next year, so the mobilisation and preparation can actually start from now."
Member of Parliament Dr Winston Green added: "We recently had the South East St Mary Football Corner League and thought that we should have something for the females, and thus we have this netball competition.
"I think today's rally was very important because the youth population in these communities is very large, so sport plays a very important role in helping to expend their energies and create a sense of unity among the communities."