Sunshine Open Netball League set to go Islandwide next year
Netball Jamaica is working to expand the Sunshine Open League to become an islandwide competition, which will unearth new talent from every parish across the country for the 2017 season.
The league, which is sponsored by the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), currently comprises 72 teams that are primarily based in the Corporate Area.
Dr Paula Daley-Morris, president of Netball Jamaica, who was speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2016 NJ/JNBS Sunshine Open League held at the National Indoor Sports Centre last Saturday, said: "Preparatory work undertaken by the organisation over the past three years will help to inform the new league structure to be implemented in 2017."
She explained that the organisation has been establishing parish associations and has been sensitising its members about the need to go this route. This is part of Netball Jamaica's plan to really become a national body; to manage the sport across the country, and not only operate in Kingston and St Andrew.
The new cross-country league structure is expected to facilitate a minimum of 20 teams from each parish in the three leagues organised by Netball Jamaica.
"I am sure we'll be able to find more teams. We will be running three leagues - major, minor and intermediate. Therefore, we will have enough leagues to be able to filter the talent across those leagues according to their ability levels," Dr Daley-Morris emphasised.
The University of the West Indies (UWI) Pelicans emerged the overall champions of the 2016 season of the Sunshine Open League after defeating the Molynes United 'A' team 30-19, while the University of Technology, Jamaica (UTech) Knights defeated SPEG 'A' 40-28 for the Group 'B' Consolation Open League title.
Paulette Sterling, JN senior manager, strategy and special projects, said the 25-year-long support of the league by Jamaica National is one of its longest such partnerships with a sports entity.
"Our management and employees continue to be passionate about netball and see positive opportunities for the players to hone their skills and perform with excellence in the game, as well as in their respective lives," she said.