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Gritty Elaine Davis- a cut above the rest

By DARAINE LUTON, Freelance Writer

SHE MUST BE BLESSED. It's almost as if the Lord looked down on Elaine Davis and said 'go forth girl, you've got all my blessing'.

There is no other way to explain it. Her game is not purely a reflection of her obvious innate ability but also a testimony of a deep seated passion for the sport and moreover to be a defender of the national flag.

Not many could endure it. Still two months away from her 28th birthday, Davis has had her troubled right knee operated on three times to the extent where she had to have fixation to the ligaments with screws.

Those who were at the National Indoor Sports Centre last July during the World Netball Championships (WNC) may recall the disappointment on Davis' face on the final day of competition. Then, even though Jamaica took the bronze medal by beating England and improving their ranking to number 3, she was unable to make a contribution to the game as a viral infection ensured that she never made it on court.

Army general

Thank heavens, Davis have gotten over that, well at least for now. Having made her first post-World Netball Championships midway the Berger Paints Netball Senior League last month, the veteran goal-shooter expectedly turned up at the national trials, did her thing and now she is on her way to Trinidad and Tobago for yet another Caribbean Netball Championships. There, as the most experienced shooter, she will be like an army general, dictating the shooting. At the same time, she has the responsibility of grooming first-timer Marvetta Murray while simultaneously pulling the best out of Tiffanie Wolfe and Simone Forbes, both of whom are no stranger to 'big' courts.

"It is the love of the game...being around the people and woking with them...sometimes you think about giving it up but when you are not with it you miss the game, you miss the people you miss the competition so that is what keeps me going," Davis told STAR Sports.

A it relates to Jamaica's chances at the tournament, Davis said: apart from winning...not only in terms of getting back the title but in terms of succes as far as it relates to inexperienced players getting a chance to play on the internationl scene representing our country well.

'We are going to win'

"We have the material and we have something to defend," Davis added.

"It is not only the confidence that we have...that we are going down there to win...we are going down there to take it one game at a step at a time."

While Davis stands on par if not taller than the top 'gunners' in the shooting arc, not many Jamaicans will remember that she started her netball career as a goal-keeper. Yes it is true. When Davis played in her first WNC as a 19-year old, she was assigned the role of goal keeper, thus, in that arc she frowned upon every goal that was scored. Things have changed since. No longer does this imposing 6ft 3", 180 pounder stand in the arc as a defender, instead she now stands head high as one of the game's top goal shooters.

Davis started out playing netball at the high school level for Glenmuir High School before going on to represent the national Under-21 team in 1995. She then moved on to represent the senior team that same year. From her senior debut against Barbados at the WNC in England, Davis has played in two subsequent WNC (New Zealand in 1999 and Jamaica 2003). She has also paraded the national colours at the Americas Federation Netball Association Championships in Greneda in 1997 and two Commonwealth Games; Malaysia in 1998 and England in 2002. Davis has also played netball on a professional level, having represented New Zealand club Sky City Diamonds in 2000 .

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July 27, 2004

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