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JNA boss seeking more competitive Berger Paints Super League
Keisha Hill, Staff Reporter
Despite the economic downturn, president of the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA), Marva Bernard, said the organisation encountered few challenges during the staging of the recently concluded Berger Paints Super League.
According to her, the major challenge was to get the in the bottom half teams as competitive as those in the top half. "The bottom half are the teams promoted last time and they are experiencing some challenges going forward," Bernard said.
She said based on the seeding they did well in the Divisional 'A' League and were promoted but need some additional work to stay competitive.
Bernard said there were also some challenges in how players, coaches and umpires related to each other. She cited disciplinary issues, though not major but enough for the organisation to have some concern.
"I would like to see the club managers and the coaches respect how they speak to the players on the court and vice versa. They certainly do not behave in a good way sometimes, in comparison to international teams when they come to play," Bernard said.
"I guess it is to correct, coach and encourage, but we have to learn to coach the heart of a player," she said.
The JNA, Bernard said, is hoping that these problems can be adequately addressed before the resumption of the season in October. "We want to continue to have competitive matches," Bernard said.
She said the JNA was grateful to sponsors for their continued support despite the economic problems.
"We could have lost Berger Paints, but they have been with us for 21 years and we are grateful to them for staying with us," she said.
The 2009 winners, Jamalco, the JNA president said, outdid themselves and were to be commended for their sterling performance.
"They performed well and deserved to win. Waulgrovians were defeated but not vanquished. They lost but should not be ashamed of their performance. The matches were extremely exciting and competitive," Bernard said.
She commended goal-shooter Elaine Davis of Jamalco who played for the entire match in pain, Simone Forbes of Waulgrovians who played with a groin injury and Cleopatra Grant of Tivoli for their commitment to the sport.
"I do not really want to single out or say that anybody else's performance was not good. I saw some young and upcoming talent. I also saw where past, current national and former national players performed well also," Bernard said.
Organiser of the JNA leagues, Pat Thomas, said despite the challenges, with the cooperation of the clubs, umpires and the improvement made to the lighting system on the courts, the teams lived up to their seeding.
She said no one was able to predict the outcome of the play-offs but all the finals had nail-biting endings.
Thomas has great expectations for the upcoming season and hopes to come up with new and innovative ideas to maintain interest in the game.
"The first great expectation for next season is that we will be able to retain our sponsors or attract some new ones, despite the economic downturn," Thomas said.
"We also need to come up with some new, innovative format for some of the divisions, so interest in the game can be maintained," she said.
Meanwhile, Thomas said she hoped the indiscipline would stay at a minimum and, with that in mind, she anticipates another exhilarating season come 2010.
JNA competition winners
Winners - Jamalco
Runners-up - Windalco
Jo Wigman Rally
Winners - Waulgrovians
Runners-up - Jamalco
Winners - Hampshire 'A'
Runners-up - Tivoli Gardens 'B'
Supreme Ventures Divisional 'A' League
Winners - Skibo 'A'
Runners-up - Ravens 'A'
Supreme Ventures Divisional 'C' League
Winners - Upper Camp
Runners-up - Omega 'C'
Western Union Divisional 'B' League
Winners - Ravens 'B'
Runners-up - Bridgeport United
Berger Paints Super League
Winners - Jamalco
Runners-up - Waulgrovians 'A'