SABA — Saba for the first time hosted an inter-island Netball Tournament on Friday, December 9 and Saturday, December 10, 2022, with the participation of St. Eustatius and St. Maarten.
Saba’s netball team, the Saba Aces, welcomed two teams from St. Eustatius and St. Maarten at the Queen Juliana Sports Field for a two-day competition. The Statia team was only able to come to Saba on Saturday, so they only played one day.
On Friday, two matches took place between Saba and St. Maarten. One match was between the B groups of the two islands, with girls of a younger age. The other match was between the A groups, consisting of high school students. St. Maarten won both matches.
On Saturday, St. Maarten won the match against St. Eustatius, which came to Saba with one team. The SXM team also won the match against the Saba B group. Saba won the match against Statia. The St. Maarten team, which has more experience than Saba, won the final game on Saturday with 10-8.
The first-place trophy went to St. Maarten and second place to Saba. The most valued player trophy was for St. Maarten as did the top shooter trophy. Ciandra Gomez of Saba won the best defender trophy and the most disciplined trophy was awarded to St. Eustatius.
In total 45 players took part in this first Netball Tournament organized by Saba. All participants received a medal. The Saba team consisted of 22 girls divided over group A (students of the Saba Comprehensive School) and group B (Sacred Heart School and form 1 of the Saba Comprehensive School).
“It was a good exposure for the Saba team. For a team with many new players, they did extremely well, and I am very proud of them. They learned a lot,” said coach Tevonille Dunchie, in daily life a teacher at the Sacred Heart School. She has been coaching Saba Aces with the assistance of Telong Childs.
Dunchie took the initiative to organize the tournament, with the help of Child Focus, so the Saba team could get the exposure and take part in a competition instead of only training. The last netball tournament was in St. Maarten in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic prevented the organizing of inter-island netball tournaments in the past three years.
Commissioner of Public Health and Sports Rolando Wilson opened the well-attended tournament on Friday. “Netball is an exciting, fast and skillful game. It is a game with two teams of seven players striving to gain control of the ball and to score. When teacher Tevonille initiated netball on Saba, she started out with 34 enthusiastic girls. A combination of the primary and secondary school.”
According to Wilson, Dunchie had a strong motivation to start the Saba netball team. “It was her favorite sport during her years at school and at college. She knows it takes a team working together to accomplish a goal. She wanted to see the girls become more advanced in sports and be able to compete outside Saba,” Wilson said.
The Commissioner said that he was looking forward to promote future inter-island netball competitions with the support of Child Focus and the Public Entity Saba. The Saba Aces are planning to go to St. Eustatius in February for a tournament. Wilson thanked the teams from the sister islands for coming to Saba for the first Netball Tournament on Saba. He wished the teams much success and thanked teacher Tevonille for her instrumental role.