Thursday, April 25, 2024

Rock’s back in squad


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FORMER Barbados Under-16 captain and Under-21 defensive player Shanice Rock has been recalled to national senior squad, which will leave here on Wednesday to contest a tri-nation series in Trinidad and Tobago against their hosts and Northern Ireland at the weekend.
Rock rejoins the team at the expense of the versatile Jeneice Clarke but head coach Anna Shepherd told NATION?SPORT?yesterday that her exclusion does not mean she won’t be part of the squad for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Scotland from July 23 to August 4.
“All of this is in preparation for the Commonwealth Games (in Scotland in July to August) and a chance to expose another player. Jeneice has not been dropped as such but has been replaced for this trip because of irregular practice attendance,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd said she was confident the girls will sweep the series when they go up against Northern Ireland on Friday and long-time arch rivals, Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday at the indoor Eastern Regional Sports Complex.
“I am very confident. For all these matches, you get points which go toward your ranking, so you cannot afford to lose,” Shepherd said.
“We are prepared physically but mentally, we are not as ready as we should because there are a few things which have been going on around the team which I am not comfortable with that could have a psychological effect on the players,” Shepherd said.
Shepherd did not go into details about the nature of the problems but said she invited sports psychologist David Scott from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus to have a session with the girls last week.
“We are not having proper facilities to practise. We had to go on the beach for two weeks because we have not been able to play indoors and we will be playing indoors on this trip and it poses problems when you have to transfer some the hard courts to indoors,” she said.
“When you are going to a tournament like the Commonwealth, which is even tougher than the World Championships, you should be prepared for it in every way,” she said.
Shepherd said she welcomed the tri-series even though it is against teams which Barbados have beaten recently as it will give the team more match play.
“We beat Northern Ireland last November when we played unbeaten and won the inaugural Netball Festival in Ireland while we also defeated Trinidad and Tobago convincingly when we last met at the last AFNA tournament,” Shepherd said.
But she said playing against Trinidad and Tobago was always a challenge.
“There is this emotional rivalry between us from way when I was playing and even before that,” she said.
Shepherd said she would love to see Barbados also hosting a tune-up series in either April or May.
“In fact, I would like to expose even more players and see what they can do at that level. If we are hosting a series, that would allow us to expose more players,” she said.

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