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No net gains for Yorkshire Jets as Lottysha Cato is grounded in netball Superleague

By Billy Weir

Published 23/04/2015

Billy Weir
Billy Weir

I know this may come as a bit of a shock to you all but I didn't play a lot of netball as a young girl, mainly because I was a young boy, but despite its blatant sexist outlook on life, I tuned in with interest at the weekend to watch the Superleague semi-finals.

At least I thought that's what it was as with Storm, Jets, Thunder and Mavericks on the bill it could have been a get together of retired Gladiators reminiscing about the old days.

I had images of Ulrika Jonsson meeting up with that scary Scottish referee, Wolf, Sharron Davies before she went on to open a very successful mail order operation, and a strange man shouting 'awooga' for no apparent reason.

But there was an even scarier and bigger forward than John Fashanu, or goal shooters as us netballists call them, in the shape, and it is quite a shape, of the legend that is Lottysha Cato.

If you're thinking the wee man who used to jump out at Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films, remove those thoughts from your head immediately as this is Grenada's finest exponent of the noble art of standing in one place and catching a ball.

This Cato plays for the Yorkshire Jets, who took on Surrey Storm in Saturday's opening semi, and Timmy, as she is known, is six foot six and full of muscles, to borrow from popular Eighties beat combo Men at Work's smash hit Down Under.

However this was more up and under to a woman at work as the Jets' Plan A, or indeed only plan, was to launch the ball in the air to Timmy, who swotted away goal defenders like King Kong swiping away jets.

This worked a treat in the opening half as Cato, in Wimbledon fashion, latched onto the long ball - well, I say latched but there hasn't been a sportsperson move so little since Bill Werbenuik's ambitious but ill-judged tilt at bobsleigh - and the Jets led at the break.

As commentator Katharine Merry, former athlete now a female version of Alan Partridge, said, "with the greatest of respect, think Gary Lineker in football, she is a goal hanger" when all watching mused how the hell someone of that size and with the mobility of an aircraft hangar could be dominating so much.

Handy if you have a few Jets, though.

By half-time the clouds had cleared for the Storm, who had the brainwave of throwing on a big defender who could move to snuff out Plan A and with no Plan B, Cato and the Jets were grounded.

They will now play the Hertfordshire Mavericks, whose senoritas presumably danced the night away after their shock defeat of defending champions Manchester Thunder (not from Down Under) in the second semi.

With happiness coming again for Mavericks, captain Sasha Corbin told the extremely sexist Sportswomen programme on Sky Sports News that for the final, "we need to make sure we are a tight unit going into that game."

Not as tight as Cato would find it trying to launch a surprise attack from a living room unit, she'd scatter my Gladiators videos and Men At Work tapes everywhere.

Belfast Telegraph

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