Kimale Evans, the president of the Bermuda Netball Association, has lauded the continued success of the Harold “Doc” Dowling Tournament.
The tournament, now in its thirteenth year, consisting of four under-12 girls teams and six under-16 teams, came to a close at Bernard Park on Saturday on a day of high-quality action on the court.
Dowling, who died in May 2013 aged 68, was a prominent figure on the sporting scene, having served as president of North Village Community Club for nearly ten years, as well as coaching youth football and softball for more than 20 years.
His overwhelming contribution led to admiration from those involved in sport who regularly came across Dowling, leading to the creation of the first Harold “Doc” Dowling Tournament, held in 2006, in recognition of his support of netball over the years.
“The tournament as a whole has been incredible,” Evans said. “I was a player when ‘Doc’ was around and he was just an amazing man. This is a great way to pay tribute to him. He would Look out for everyone and do what ever he could to help. It takes the whole community to raise these young ladies and I think this is the right kind of community that we are building here.
“These young ladies have worked really hard and you can see the effort from all the clubs. It proves that once you give young people an amazing facility and the right support, they will turn up in their numbers and make the most of it.”
On the court, Strom Lightning blew away the competition in the under-16 category, winning all five matches to finish top on 15 points, three ahead of second-place North Village Lady Rams Red.
“I’m incredibly proud to finish with an unbeaten record,” said Gina Benjamin, the Storm Lightning coach, who also holds the roles of the national team coach and BNA vice-president.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard with the team and I’m really happy to see all the training we do has reaped its reward on the court. Doc’ was a very prominent person when I was playing and he was always very loved. It is great to be able to play in this tournament in his name. It’s important for our children to know of the people that came before us and everything that they did.”
The under-12 division was completed last weekend with Phoenix Sparks, coached by Antoinay Tankard, being crowned champions.
Sparks topped their four-team round-robin table with nine points, three points ahead of North Village Lady Rams Red with North Village Rams White and Storm taking third and fourth respectively.
Following the completion of the Harold “Doc” Dowling Tournament, matches for both age groups were also played in the Digicel Bermuda Junior Netball League.
In the under-16 league, Storm and Lady Rams White played out a 16-goal thriller in an 8-8 draw, with both Fabiola Edwards-Adams and Tanah Edwards impressing, while Phoenix Sparks, led by Khylie Smith, proved too good for Lady Rams Red as they eased to 20-4 victory.
Amayah Burt’s 11-goal haul helped inspire Storm Thunder to a 21-19 victory over Lady Rams White, despite Sanaa Berkeley scoring 13 times for the Lady Rams.
Phoenix Fire overcame a spirited Warriors side in 16-10 win, with Niasiah Berkeley and Shayla Green starring for their respective sides, while Storm Lightning romped to a 30-14 victory over North Village Lady Rams Red in which Khiana Cann and Rae’ Chelle Webster both impressed for their teams.
The Senior League Matches were postponed because of rain.