REVIEW OF THE SEASON – YEAR 2020

The following is an interim report of the activities of the COURTS All Sectors Netball League for the year 2020; its 30th year; the year of the Corona virus pandemic, commonly known as COVID-19.

The Season came to an abrupt halt on March 14 2020, when the Facilities Manager of the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena informed that the venue is temporarily closed with immediate effect, for one week, from March 14 to March 22.  This move was aimed at containing the spread of the Corona virus. To date, May 11, this facility, along with all others under ministerial control, has remained closed as the Government of Trinidad and Tobago continues to battle the disease, the invisible war. Internationally, no remedy for this virus has been found as yet.

With just over two weeks of games remaining on the schedule, Management is hopeful that the Fixtures would be completed before the end of the year or even early next year, depending on when the facility is reopened and  what the ‘new normal’ looks like.

At the stoppage, the League had completed almost all of its thirtieth season and reports again, that the season was on another successful run.

The structure of the League remained the same. The Divisions are the Premiership, the Championship, the Alternative and the Retro.  The Retro Division continues as a separate Unit.  Cash prizes will once again be awarded in the Premiership Division.

There was no change to the Management Committee when the Election was held at the Annual General Meeting in November of 2019. There was also no change to the Council. The members at the meeting were very satisfied with the performance of the League’s leadership teams. The President of the Council is Ms Sharon Wilson of the Bermudez United Club and the Secretary is Ms Lilia Mathurin Cameron of the Jabloteh Club. The Management Committee comprises Ms Carol Demming Gittens; Ms Rosemary Mathurin; Ms Giselle Darlington; Ms Patricia Butcher; Mr. Kenneth Butcher and Ms Brenda Prince.

The League is extremely grateful for the continued support of our main sponsor Unicomer (Trinidad) Limited (COURTS), and of our many stakeholders. The general membership increased by one, from 26 to 27 teams this year. Male participants were facilitated in the COURTS Open Knock Out and the FAST 5 tournaments. This was based on a decision taken at the Annual General Meeting after a careful evaluation of last year’s performances.

TEAMS

Four (4) teams played in the Premiership Division, ten (10) in the Championship, eight (8) in the Alternative, and five (5) in the Retro. Altogether twenty-seven (27) teams participated.

The Premiership Division comprised Defence Force, Fire, Police (X), and Police (Y).

In the Championship Division were Bermudez United, Defence Force, Fire, Jabloteh, Open Campus (UWI), Police (X), Police (Y) Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT), Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) and University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT). Given the time constraint of the Fixtures this group played in two divisions (X) and (Y), with five teams in each group.

The Alternative Division comprised of Jabloteh, Las Lomas Academy, Metal Industries Company (MIC), Police (X), Police (Y), TT Post, University of the Southern Caribbean (USC), and University of the West Indies (UWI)

The Retro Division consisted of Jabloteh, Las Lomas, Police (X), Police (Y) and TSTT. Notably absent this year was Les Enfants who played consistently over a number of years.

VENUE                     

As reported earlier, games were being played at the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena (ERISA) when the League came to a halt. The challenges with the venue were few. As yet, the electrical problems were not completely rectified as the most important outlet for us needed repair. The Facility Manager noted that circumstances did not permit immediate attention to fixing it. It was good to note however, that the lighting for the venue was enhanced and the cooling fans were restored. Management was again assured that the Venue was safe to conduct the games.

There were other challenges with the Venue, but these were to a lesser extent than last year. They related to problems with the plumbing and sewer system; the lack of furniture; the menace of birds’ refuse both on the floor of the arena and on the furniture in the locker room; and leaks in the roof. Some of them were partially resolved.

Once again the League did what it could to minimize the hazards and thanked the Manager of ERISA for her efforts and empathy.

OPENING CEREMONY

The Opening Ceremony took place on Saturday 04 January 2020 at 3.00pm at the Venue. The Fire Service band once again provided the musical accompaniment for the March Past.  On the saluting base for the March Past were the COURTS representative Mrs. Nicole Loney Mills; Mrs. Joan Yuille Williams, Past Deputy Prime Minister and Past President of the Trinidad and Tobago Netball Association; Mr. Patrice Charles, Director of Sport and Physical Education, Ministry of Sport and Youth Affairs; Dr. Patricia Butcher, President of the Trinidad and Tobago Netball Association, and member of the Management Committee of the COURTS All Sectors Netball League and Ms. Brenda Prince, Chief Executive Officer of the League, who assisted the dignitaries with the inspection of the parade. The dignitaries brought greetings and offered best wishes to the League. Mr. Patrice Charles declared the 2020 Season open. 

The judges of the parade were Ms. Vanessa Forde, Ms. Joy Demming and Ms. Rosemary Mathurin. The League expresses its appreciation to them and to all those persons who assisted in making the Opening Day Ceremony a success.

The MIC Tigers team won this year’s parade.

In the Opening Day Knock Out competition, Fire won from Defence Force in the Premiership Division; UTC Sharks won from Fire in the Championship Division; while in the Alternative Division, TT Post won from MIC Tigers. 

COMPETITIONS

The arrangement of the competitions was the same as last Season. In the Premiership, two rounds of the Round Robin were played. In the Championship the ten (10) teams were divided into X and Y, given the time constraint that the League faced. They played a Round Robin within each group and then played off X vs. Y to determine the final positions. The League was halted before the playoffs were completed.

In respect of the Knock Out games, all were scheduled as straight Knock Outs. These include the Divisional KO competitions, the Jean Pierre and Steve Sarjeant Challenge trophies and the Fast 5 tournament. Unfortunately, a few of these have not yet taken place.

League games, with the exception of those in the Retro and in the Alternative, were of one hour’s duration. The duration of the games for these Divisions was forty minutes, four quarters of ten minutes each. As indicated, teams in Premiership played each other twice in order to determine the overall placing for the League trophy and in the Championship final placing would be determined by the playoffs. The Alternative Division played one round, given the number of teams in the Division, while the Retro played two. 

The games played so far were extremely competitive especially in the Premiership and Championship Divisions.

The results of all of the competitions will be given in an Appendix as soon as a decision is taken regarding how the Season will finish.

PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

Broad objectives of the League include increased player participation, increased number of technical officials, increased media involvement, increased intensity of the game and performance of players especially in the Premiership Division, improved quality of competitions, and strict observance of the Code of Conduct.

In respect of the above, management has noted considerable interest and positive attitudes by participants at all levels and consequently is able to present the following.

Player participation increased this year with an additional team and approximately twenty five players. Again, there are teams willing to join the organization but because of the constraint of time and limited space, they cannot be readily accommodated.

Regarding the technical officials; as a consequence of the Under 16 Training Program held in August 2019 and the associated intense umpire training Modules which were facilitated by International Umpire Award holders and Trainer/Testers, the League saw an increase in the number of umpires and improved performances. At least three of them were scheduled to be tested before the official end of the Season, but this did not materialize due to the onset of the corona virus. The scorers have remained consistent in number and are doing an excellent job.

Media coverage has been tremendous. Although statistics are not available in respect of air time on all three of our local television stations, feedback suggests that air time exceeded last year’s. Regarding print media, The Dailies have been generous and a second scrap book in which newspaper clippings are placed is in use.  

CHALLENGES

As outlined above there were very few challenges this Season mainly relating to the venue. Currently our biggest challenge is the onset of the Corona virus disease which has interrupted our Season.

TRAINING

In August last year, the League again undertook an Under 16 Youth Development Programme in which just five (5) teams, sourced from the League’s Clubs participated. The Programme was scheduled over one (1) week and the purpose was the same.

  • Building capacity – numerical, mental, physical, technical
  • Increased player participation
  • Motivational: Developing a love for netball and a healthy life style

It should be reported that at the meeting held to plan for the Under 16 Programme, it was indicated that some teams would not participate because they were involved with prepping for CARIFESTA which was being held in Trinidad and Tobago, the dates of which clashed with the dates of the Programme.

ACHIEVEMENTS/INNOVATIONS

At the League’s AGM 2019, a few decisions were taken regarding the operations of the League including

  • The selection of a Junior All Star team should continue along with Senior All Star team.
  • Male players would be facilitated in the COURTS Open Knock Out and the Fast 5 Knock Out tournament.
  • The Fast 5 Knock Out tournament would be played over one weekend, and all teams in all Divisions would be allowed to register male players.
  • Each team in all the Divisions could register a maximum of five (5) male players of which only three (3) may be permitted to play on any game. (The names of three (3) male players only, or less, should appear on the Team Submission form.)
  •  The Fast 5 should be played in its original form, according to the INF Rules, as this format is currently being considered for use in the Commonwealth Youth Games, which are scheduled to be held in Trinidad and Tobago in 2021.

 
Registration of the All Sectors Netball League

By Certificate dated January 23rd 2020, Registration No. NPO 0196, the All Sectors Netball League was registered as a Non-Profit Organization under Section 6 of the Non-Profit Organizations Act, No. 7 of 2019.
In this regard advice was sought from the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, following a Newspaper advertisement, and consultation with our Sponsors.

Sponsorship from COURTS

Unicomer (Trinidad) Limited, (COURTS) considered the League favorably again this year.   The League remains extremely grateful and will continue to do its best to ensure that it gets value for money while giving the company the mileage that it so richly deserves. 

The League thanks the Management of Unicomer (Trinidad) Limited particularly, Mrs. Nicole Loney Mills and Mr. Fazad Mohammed for participating in our events and for their encouragement.

Fund Raiser

Teams continue to contribute in advance in the amounts requested. The AGM also noted that the decision taken by the Council to have an additional fund raiser to assist with doing a tour has not yet been implemented. Current difficult economic times are not helping, but the effort will continue.

MEDIA COVERAGE

The media coverage this year was excellent, especially the Print Media. We thank the Express, especially Mr. Garth Wattley and Mr. Ashford Jackman; the Trinidad Guardian, especially Ms. Rachel King and Mr. Nigel Simon; and the several journalists at Newsday for the keen interest shown. We thank too the Radio Stations and Television Stations, especially Mr. Ruskin Mark and Mr. Ian Wason of TTT, and look forward to their continuing support of the League.

CONCLUSION

The participants of the COURTS All Sectors Netball League offer their sincerest appreciation to Unicomer (Trinidad) Limited (COURTS), and other stakeholders for the League’s success. Special thanks to the Fire Service Band and Ms. Paula Darceuil for their services on the Opening Day. The League also wishes to thank Ms Elsa Clouden for her continued support. Thanks too, to all officials, supporters, well-wishers and others who have contributed so far, to making the Season a success.

We look forward to ending the Season, sometime in the near future when the disease of the Corona virus has subsided and the playing facility is reopened for use.

 
     
     
     
 
 
 

SUPPLEMENTARY REPORT OF THE SEASON – YEAR 2020

The following is a supplementary report of the activities of the COURTS All Sectors Netball League for the year 2020. These events occurred after the Government of Trinidad and Tobago relaxed some of the cautionary measures that were implemented throughout the country due to the outbreak the Corona virus, commonly known as COVID-19.

Following the Prime Minister’s disclosure on June 20 that Team Sports may resume with effect from June 22, the management of the League agreed that the League should attempt to complete its 2020 Fixtures.

PHYSICAL ARRANGEMENTS

Regarding the use of our usual venue, it was evident, and the Facilities Manager of the Eastern Regional Indoor Sports Arena subsequently confirmed, that the venue would not be available for continuing the games. This was because the adjacent National Racquet Centre was being used as a quarantine facility for some persons affected with the corona virus. Consequently, another venue had to be sought.

During our search, it was revealed that the managers of other government owned indoor facilities could not determine when they would open as they were awaiting official communication, staff was not yet available and their regular clients would be given priority for the use of the facilities. As the League had used the Center of Excellence on a previous occasion, an attempt was made to acquire the facility. This was successful and the dates were agreed, from August 03 – 15.

This facility however does not have netball posts nor is their Hibiscus Hall, where the games were to be played, marked with a netball court. In the circumstances, we acquired the posts from our former venue and secured known persons to mark the Court.

PROTOCOLS

When communication was sent to the teams regarding the new arrangements for completing the Fixtures, the following protocols, in accordance with government’s guidelines and those of the Trinidad and Tobago Netball Association, were issued:

  • The Centre will be sanitized.
  • All participants are required to wear masks except when they are playing or officiating on Court.
  • A sink for washing of hands and sanitizers will be provided.
  • Social/Physical distancing is expected in the Stands.
  • No Spectators will be allowed, so there will be no collection of gate fees.
  • Players are asked to arrive no earlier than 10 minutes before the start of their games and leave immediately after their games.
  • Late fees that facilitate the late start of games have been suspended for this period.

FIXTURES

At the stoppage of the League on March 14, there were only about two weeks of games remaining on the schedule. The Alternative Division had already completed its Season except for the FAST 5. The FAST 5 for all Divisions and the Retro Knock Out were eventually cancelled because the number of players and officials expected at these events would have contravened the guidelines regarding the allotted numbers for congregating.

The Fixtures were reworked accordingly, noting that Monday August 10 was proclaimed as Election Day. Games originally scheduled for that day had to be rescheduled.

TEAMS

Of the nineteen (19) teams expected to participate in the remaining games, two (2) teams indicated upfront that they may not be able to participate for various reasons but mainly because of the COVID-19 fear among the players. These were Bermudez United and UTC Sparks. During the course of the games there were other defaults, but these did not mar the eventual successful outcome of the Season, nor did it spoil the fun and camaraderie that prevailed among those teams that showed up, notwithstanding the ‘social distancing handicap’.

OBITUARIES

Unfortunately, during the period of the ‘lock down’, Sophia Harper, a player from the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) Netball team succumbed to cancer, and one of our netball icons, member of the Sports Hall of Fame, Barbara Chandleur also passed. Barbara was a regular attendee at all of our netball events.  May they Rest in Peace and Rise in Glory.

Before the start of the first game, on the resumption of the League, a period of silence was kept for them, as a mark of respect.

DISTRIBUTION OF AWARDS

In view of the several government restrictions in place at the time, a decision was taken to distribute the awards in phases. An Awards Ceremony was not held.

The awards for the Alternative Division were given out on the evening of Thursday August 6 and those for the Retro Division on Thursday August 13.
The other awards were distributed on Saturday August 15, after all the competitions were completed.

The list of awardees is appended.

MEDIA

It was intended, and arrangements were made for the finals of certain competitions to be streamed on Face book and or You Tube, but this did not materialize as envisaged, mainly because the internet service at the venue could not properly support the project. Only one game was recorded and edited and could now be seen on the League’s Face Book page.

The Media continues to give us good coverage and we remain grateful.

TRAINING

Due to the limited time and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Under 16 Youth Development Programme was not scheduled.

UMPIRING

During this short period, three (3) umpires’ practical tests were conducted. Kanika Paul Payne passed at the Advanced Level, Chinel Balcon Dennie passed at the Intermediate Level, and Adana Jobe passed at the Preliminary Level.  We congratulate them and wish them God’s speed as they continue to work diligently to be the best they can be on this journey. We thank the trainer/testers for their availability and hard work.

Sponsorship from COURTS

Again, the League remains extremely grateful to COURTS for its generous sponsorship.
The League thanks the Management of Unicomer (Trinidad) Limited particularly, Mrs. Nicole Loney Mills and now Mr. Shahad Ali for their particular interest and encouragement. We especially welcome Mr. Ali to his new portfolio.

CONCLUSION

The participants of the COURTS All Sectors Netball League was indeed grateful for the opportunity to complete the League’s Fixtures in the timeframe it was afforded. It is noted that a further lock down of Team Sports came into effect on Monday August 17, just two days after the League’s completion. Thanks again to all officials, protocols marshals, well-wishers and others who have contributed to making the Season a success. We remain hopeful to continue this work in 2021.

 
 
 
     
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