The third Berger Elite League, organised by Netball Jamaica, was launched on Wednesday at General Accident Insurance Company with a lottery to select the members of the six teams. Defending champions Clarendon Gaters, runners-up St James Sharpes, St Catherine Racers, Manchester Spurs, St Ann Orchids and Kingston Humming Birds are the six teams. Each team will have 10 players, with all having members of the national senior team. Some of the players to look forward to seeing on court include Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, Paula Thompson, Anna Kay Griffiths, Kadejah Williams, Shantel Slater, Adean Thomas, Stacey Facey and retired Sunshine Girl Simone Forbes, as well as returned Sunshine Girl Kimesha Sterling. The teams will now begin training in preparation for the start of the competition on November 10. An opening ceremony, set for 5:30 p.m. at the National Indoor Sports Centre, will precede the first match. President of Netball Jamaica Dr Paula Daley-Morris was pleased to see the lottery completed and promised high-level competition and exciting matches from the first match. She said that the competition will be used to identify talent for the senior teams going forward. Looking forward to the best of three matches to close the competition in January, she mentioned that they will play exhibition matches such as celebrity vs masters matches to heighten the excitement for the spectators. Daley-Morris says that some of the matches, including the opening match, will be aired live on SportsMax (this is being done for the first time). Daley-Morris indicated that there will be some new but experienced coaches this year including Connie Francis, Oberon Pitterson-Nattie in addition to the other 10-member coaching panel. Dalton Hinds, coach of the defending champion Clarendon Gaters, said that it will be a tall order to defend his championship as all the teams are strong this year. He promised that the team will do its best to be victorious again nevertheless. Casey Perue, marketing manager at Berger Paints Jamaica, said that the company was pleased to be supporting the growth of Jamaica’s most successful team sport for decades and will be around for the long haul. They also plan to stage various promotional activities at the matches to give back to the spectators who support the sport.
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