Thursday, June 19
The recent Pacific Netball Series between Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands was a great success and even though our Black Pearls didn't manage a win they improved with every game and came close on several occasions.
Their skills and teamwork kept getting better and they gave the fans some exciting moments - heartstopping even.
If these relative youngsters can stay together and get more quality time on court they have the potential to claw their way back up the netball ladder (once upon a time Cookies were the Queens of Pacific netball!)
After the series coach Trish Wilcox said, “The biggest challenge was the short time frame, coming on board in February with a squad already in place and trying to get them to a fitness level to cope with six games in six days tournament as well as working on the skills and tactics that we would need to be competitive against the other nations.”
Sadly another challenge was dealing with unpleasant criticism from some members of the public over the selection of the final twelve players from a training squad of fourteen.
At a time when we should have been cheering our girls and Netball Cook Islands, they had to deal with a level of negativity towards many of the players and the coach which must have affected team morale.
Well, they overcame that and showed the critics up for the miserable creatures they are - parents and so-called 'friends' included.
We could all learn something from the Fijian community here on Rarotonga.
They were out in full force at every game. They cheered, they sang, they waved flags, sometimes they danced. They clearly were having a wonderful time and, even when their team was behind, the support never wavered.
For more on the Pacific Netball Series check Cook Islands News online here.