First-timers win BHNA Open rally
First-timers Ministry of Education, Youth and Information staged a lesson of sorts in netball, overcoming many-time champions Scotia Group Jamaica Limited 8-6 in the Buiness House Netball Association (BHNA) Open Rally at the Leila Robinson Courts at the National Stadium complex, on Saturday night.
Jamaica National (JN) copped the colourful uniform parade.
The matches were played half court in eight-minute duration games - four per half - and with a 30-second break. A total of 38 teams participated onSaturday.
Besides the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information team - made up of teachers and members of staff - other new teams included Sutherland Global Services, Guardsman Group, Hardware & Lumber and Stewart's Automotive Group.
Many-time winning coach, Jennifer Brown, said the foundations have been laid and people will now be looking to "see what we can do".
"We have been training vigorously; we started late and entered about a month ago," she said.
"All the ladies who represented the team are teachers and staff of the ministry. They have very good netball skills, so we just worked on a lot of fitness and team building so they could gel good together and they put in a very good effort to beat Scotia, who were considered favourites to win," Brown told The Gleaner.
Brown also led the National Commercial Bank team to a lower division title on the night.
There were Scotia A and B teams in the competition, while the A team lost the services of some of their outstanding players due to injuries, their coach, veteran Winston Nevers, also led the RJR/Gleaner team, which won one game and lost two in the preliminary round.
Meanwhile, guest speaker at the opening ceremony, Earl Jarrett, general manager, Jamaica National Building Society, praised the teams for representing an important part of Jamaica's image.
"If I am to say Jamaica has a diplomatic strategy, netball certainly is an important part of it. It certainly helps to position Jamaica in the world as an important organisation, as has track and field and football," Jarrett outlined.
"It is my belief that economic growth can be achieved in Jamaica by focusing some of our activities on sports, such as netball," he continued.
"Sports is not just about fun, it's about using that sport to drive Jamaica's long-term interest and objectives overseas and here locally."
Tricia Robinson, BHNA president, gave commendations to the sponsors, council members, the secretariat, volunteers and other stakeholders of netball, while former local netball boss, Marva Bernard, praised the continued leadership that has seen the competition grow over the years.