Trinidad & Tobago’s greatest accomplishment in netball was achieved in 1979 when its national team shared the World Championship title with Australia and New Zealand. This tournament, the fifth (5th) World Netball Championship, was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad, from August 12th to 25th, with 20 teams competing. As a result of the team’s triangular victory, the Trinidad & Tobago Netball Association was awarded a Trinidad & Tobago Humming Bird Medal (Gold).

 

The 1979 team was made up of the following players, each of whom was awarded the Trinidad & Tobago Chaconia Medal (Gold):

PLAYER POSITION(S)
Ingrid Blackman Goal Attack/Goal Shoot
Angela Burke-Brown Center/Wing Attack
Peggy Castanada Goal Shoot/Goal Attack
Heather Charleau Goal Defence/Goal Keeper
Cyrenia Charles Goal Attack/Goal Shoot
Marcia Dimsoy Center/Wing Attack
Jennifer Nurse Goal Attack/Wing Attack
Sherril Peters (Captain) Goal Defence/Wing Defence
Eugenia Theodosia Pierre Goal Shoot
Veryl Prescod Wing Defence/Goal Defence
Althea Thomas-L`uces (Vice-Captain) Goal Defence
Jennifer Williams Goal Defence/Goal Keeper

 

The tournament was played on a league basis, in two rounds: a preliminary round and a final round. The preliminary round consisted of five groups which were as follows:

 

GROUP 1 GROUP 2 GROUP 3 GROUP 4 GROUP 5
Australia England New Zealand Trinidad & Tobago Jamaica
Scotland Uganda Antigua Bermuda St. Vincent
Grenada Canada St. Lucia Bahamas Wales
Kenya St. Christopher/ Nevis/Anguilla Barbados Republic of Ireland Northern Ireland

 

Trinidad & Tobago’s Preliminary Round Fixtures & Results (Group 4):

DATE TIME OPPONENT RESULTS TT GOAL SCORE
12/08/79 4:00 p.m. Republic of Ireland TT won: 61-21 (Pierre 42, Charles 19)
14/08/79 5:30 p.m. Bahamas TT won: 63-17 (Pierre 39, Charles 24)
15/08/79 4:15 p.m. Bermuda TT won: 71-12 (Pierre 56, Charles 15)

 

Led by captain Sherril Peters, the entire team signaled intention to be championship leader from the very first match. At the end of the preliminary round, Trinidad & Tobago won all three games and was positioned 1st in group four with a total of 6 points. Republic of Ireland was ranked 2nd in group four, with a total of 4 points. The 1st and 2nd positioned teams from each of the five groups advanced to Group A of the final round to compete for places 1 – 10. These ten teams were:

GROUP 1 GROUP 2 GROUP 3 GROUP 4 GROUP 5
Country Pts Country Pts Country Pts Country Pts Country Pts
Australia 6 England 6 New Zealand 6 Trinidad & Tobago 6 Jamaica 6
Scotland 4 St Kitts/ Nevis 4 Barbados 4 Rep. of Ireland 4 Wales 2

 

Trinidad & Tobago’s Final Round Fixtures & Results :

DATE TIME OPPONENT RESULTS TT GOAL SCORE
16/08/79 4:00 p.m. Rep. of Ireland TT won: 84-13 (Pierre 51, Blackman 33)
17/08/79 4:45 p.m. Barbados TT won: 51-26 (Pierre 30, Charles 21)
18/08/79 4:00 p.m. England TT won: 49-45 (Pierre 43, Blackman 6)
20/08/79 5:30 p.m. Wales TT won: 56-20 (Pierre 51, Charles 5)
21/08/79 5:30 p.m. Jamaica TT won: 51-20 (Pierre 40, Blackman 11)
22/08/79 4:30 p.m. St Kitts/Nevis TT won: 58-21 (Pierre 42, Charles 16)
23/08/79 4:00 p.m. Australia TT won: 40-38 (Pierre 24, Charles 16)
24/08/79 5:30 p.m. Scotland TT won: 46-21 (Pierre 28, Blackman 18)
25/08/79 2:45 p.m. New Zealand TT lost: 27-33 (Pierre 17, Charles 10)

 

Throughout the entire tournament, every ‘Calypso Girl’ provided opponents and spectators with nail biting moments. The Trinidad & Tobago/Australia game was the thriller. The Aussies’ strategy was to focus their two defences on the experienced and talented shooter, Jean Pierre while ignoring the unknown Cyrenia Charles. This proved fatal for the Australians. By the end of the first quarter, the game was at a 7-7 draw. In the second quarter, both teams doubled their scores to 14-14. Trinidad and Tobago took the lead in the third quarter with a 30-26 score. The game ended in a 40-38 score in favour of Trinidad & Tobago in the final quarter.

Trinidad & Tobago’s ‘Calypso Girls’ tied for 1st place with Australia and New Zealand.  The title was shared because each of the top three teams won eight out of nine matches, losing once, to one of the other two: New Zealand defeated Trinidad and Tobago 33–27; Trinidad and Tobago defeated Australia 40–38; and Australia defeated New Zealand 38–36. The tournament rules of the time did not provide any other way of determining an outright winner, so the three teams shared the title.

Trinidad & Tobago basked in the glory of being the first country to have hosted and won a World Netball Championship. The entire team worked cohesively to produce great results in every match at each stage of the competition. The end result was most magnificent, and the victory was well celebrated. Apart from receiving the Chaconia Medal (Gold), the 1979 team was inducted into the WITCO Trinidad & Tobago Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. In 2012, the triumphant 1979 ‘Calypso Girls’ team was recognized as one of Trinidad and Tobago’s “50 Greatest Legends of Sport 1962-2012” in commemoration of the nation’s 50th Anniversary of Independence.

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3 Comments

  1. Peter Bromfield says:

    I was honored to meet Jean in the early 1990’s when I attended St.Thomas University Miami. My mom is also from Trinidad and born the same year. I always remember her kindness and encouragement. The ladies used the outdoor courts at STU to practice.

  2. anton says:

    i love jean pirere

  3. P Juppy says:

    Kudos for a job well done! A lot of information is presented in a very reader-friendly manner. The short video makes the profile even more interesting to users of this site.

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