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Vitality Netball Superleague has made me a better player — Robinson

Senior staff reporter

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Jamaica Sunshine Girls player Rebekah Robinson says her game has developed leap and bounds while representing Celtic Dragons in the United Kingdom's (UK's) Netball Superleague, even though the team endured a tough ride this season.

The Welsh-based club ended at the base of the 11-team table, winning only once in 20 matches.

“It has been a journey — we had a very rocky start. However, we've grown tremendously since the start of the season,” Robinson told the Jamaica Observer during a recent interview.

“I am happy I came and got the opportunity to be a part of this league as it has developed my persona and game in so many ways. I have seen great improvements from when I began and it's given me a better understanding of what is really expected of me on court.

“Of course, it's a learning curve and I keep learning everyday with every training session and match that I play, but I'm confident that the Rebekah that started is not the same athlete at this point in the season,” the 26-year-old goal attack said.

Against the backdrop of the cancellation of the 2020 Superleague season due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Robinson praised organisers for putting on a well-run event this year.

“The VNSL (Vitality Netball Superleague) did an amazing job in setting guidelines and protocols to ensure a smooth season, which it has been so far. We are COVID tested at least once per week, and twice during competition weeks. Teams play at a centralised location… [and] that way there is more care and control over what happens and how we as athletes are handled,” Robinson, a member of the Sunshine Girls squad which finished fifth at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England, explained.

She said the staging of the 2021 Superleague, particularly during the UK Government's tight lockdown measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, was vital.

“This goes deeper than just me and how it makes me feel. Of course, it's good for me as I am making a living from what I love. However, it was important that the sport stayed alive during what was one of the hardest times for many. Great compliments to the VNSL… games can be viewed live [on television and the internet] and so persons are able to experience the excitement.

“The beginning of this was absolutely big for the sport as it not only gave lovers of the sport something to look forward to during the lockdown, but it also got persons who did not know much about netball excited about the sport. It was important that we kept the exposure of netball within the UK and around the world, and I am so privileged that I got to be a part of it,” the Jamaican player said.

As virus cases and deaths continue to trend down and vaccination programmes reach more people in the UK — one of the places hardest hit by the pandemic — Robinson is buoyed by at least a semblance of normality.

“It's exciting to see some sort of normality, with the introduction of the vaccine persons have become more comfortable to explore beyond the walls of their homes and so the streets have literally come alive, businesses have opened and I'm now able to see and experience more of the United Kingdom,” she told the Observer.