Jamaica’s Sunshine Girlz have been asked to brave the cold of England in January for the inaugural Netball Nations League in 2020. 

The Sunshine Girlz will find themselves among four teams in the tournament with New Zealand and South Africa joining the hosts from January 19-26.

According to reports, Australia were also invited but had prior obligations and will not be able to participate.

The teams are scheduled to play each other in a round-robin format from which the top two teams will make it to the final, while the bottom two play off for third.

The Jamaicans will be privy to seeing just where they are with the challenge of South Africa on January 19. England will mark the final game of the group stage, on January 25, while the third-place playoff and final will be played on the following day.

The Melbourne Vixens have signed Jamaica’s Kadie-Ann Dehaney to a new deal that will see the player return to Melbourne for the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season.

Seven Jamaicans will be recognised for their outstanding contribution to the country’s sporting development when the 2019 national honours and awards are handed out during the annual ceremony at King’s House on National Heroes Day, Monday, October 21.

The seven are among 143 Jamaicans who will be honoured overall.

Five of the seven will be vested with the Order of Distinction in the Officer Class. They are First Vice-president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Chris Stokes; President of MVP Track Club and well-respected track and field analyst, Bruce James; tennis enthusiast, Llockett McGregor; horse racing commentator Brian ‘Spuddy’ Rickman and Hugh Perry, who is being recognised for contributions to cricket and football.

Stokes, is the Chairman of the Jamaica Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation.  He was a member of the Jamaican bobsled team that made history, in the process stunning the world, when they appeared at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

The movie, ‘Cool Runnings’ was inspired by the exploits of the team.

James played an instrumental role in the creation of the world-famous MVP track club that is based at the University of Technology in Papine, St Andrew. He was firmly of the view that world-class athletes can be trained in Jamaica.

That vision has paid off as the club, under the guidance of the highly respected coach, Stephen Francis, has produced Olympic and World  Champions, as well as world record holders. These include Bridgette Foster-Hylton, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Elaine Thompson and Asafa Powell. The club has also produced numerous other medallists on the world stage.

Also being recognised for their contribution to sport are Christopher Dehring and Margaret Beckford who will receive the Order of Distinction Commander Class.

Dehring is being honoured for the part he played in the successful bid by the West Indies to host the 2007 Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean.

Beckford, the first president of Netball Jamaica, is being honoured for helping to develop the sport in Jamaica.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girl Romelda Aiken is now a brand ambassador for Motorama Ford in Queensland, Australia.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls avoided finishing sixth at the Vitality Netball World Cup, the worst the team would have since 1967 after a hard-fought playoff game against Malawi. 

New Zealand landed their fifth Netball World Cup title with an epic 52-51 victory over defending champions Australia in Liverpool.

The Silver Ferns completed a remarkable turnaround in their fortunes, with the global triumph coming just 15 months after a thumping 65-44 defeat to Australia in the Commonwealth Games semi-finals.

They also lost to Jamaica in the third-place match at that tournament in Gold Coast but have been a team transformed under the leadership of coach Noeline Taurua, who took the helm last August.

New Zealand edged past England in the last four of this World Cup and held their nerve at the end of a gripping title match against the 11-time champions to finally capture the trophy after three consecutive final defeats to Australia.

It was the Ferns' first World Cup triumph since 2003, having faced trans-Tasman rivals Australia in six straight finals, and Taurua said: "I'm absolutely proud, like always."

The veterans in her squad have become known as 'the fossils', and Taurua said: "Our fossils stood up and led from the front.

"It's amazing and it was a great game as well. It was an epic encounter."

Captain Laura Langman told the BBC: "It's been a journey, and I think full credit has to go to Noeline and Deb [assistant coach Deb Fuller]. They turned our environment around and the level of expectation that's in there.

"Just to see the growth of players from where they started in August to where they are now - even us fossils - it's been unreal."

Hosts England earlier secured bronze with a crowd-pleasing 58-42 victory over South Africa.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls still have work to do to avoid their lowest finish at the vitality Netball World Cup since 1967 even after a convincing 77-47 thrashing of Zimbabwe on Friday.

The Sunshine Girls campaign has been bitterly disappointing. Coming off the heels of their first-ever top-two world ranking, they have failed to finish among the top four for the first time in 24 years, but still fielded a strong team to lead the first quarter 23-15.

The Jamaicans would continue to have a big first half after running out to a 24-9 to end the stanza 47-24 leaders.

The Jamaicans took their foot off the gas and Zimbabwe duly took advantage in the third quarter, winning the period 14-12, but that never got them close enough to make a push in the final of the four periods.

At 59-38 heading into the fourth quarter, the game was over, but Jamaica were tired of the competition and pressed home their advantage with a  flourish, winning the final stage 18-9.

Romelda Aiken was still not at her accurate best, scoring 27 goals for Jamaica from 35 attempts, while Rebekah Robinson had 16 from 21, starting from goal attack.

For the Sunshine Girls, skipper Jhaniele Fowler-Reid was perfect, scoring 16 goals from the same number of events.

Shanice Beckford scored 18 from 21 attempts.

The four enjoyed marginally better results than the Zimbabwe shooters, for whom Joice Takaidza had 21 goals from 26 attempts. Sharon Bwanali had six from seven attempts, while Pauline Jani was perfect, scoring 18.

Ursula Ndlovu scored two from three attempts.

The result meant, the World Cup debutants, Zimbabwe, finished seventh, while the Jamaicans can finish, at worst sixth.

A seventh placed-finish for debutants is nothing to scoff at and the Zimbabweans were a happy bunch despite the loss.

“I’m really impressed with our performance today. Against the world number two it’s quite difficult, and as you can see, against them, our team is vertically challenged! But I’m really impressed,” said Felisitus Kwangwa.

Jamaica, rather, chose to look at what they did right to get past the the netball minnows.

“It was a very physical game. We knew that Zimbabwe would be physical but we came prepared for that. Our team is filled with speed, and I think that we matched up quite well with them,” said Stacian Facey.

Sixth is the worst Jamaica has finished since 1967. They do have a chance to save some blushes by finishing fifth.

That opportunity comes when they play against the very tough Malawi on Sunday.

Jamaica Sunshine Girls Marvette Anderson talks about the team's disappointing performance at the Netball World Cup.

Heads are going to roll following Jamaica’s disastrous campaign at the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup.

Jamaica Sunshine Girls star shooter Jhanielle Fowler-Reid admits that the team was ‘devastated’ to be facing an almost certain exit from the Netball World Cup following a loss to England on Monday.

The Jamaicans entered the tournament full of confidence as the world number two ranked team behind Australia.  They certainly failed to live up to the elevated spot, however, following losses to 3rd ranked England and 5th ranked South Africa in the preliminary round.

Jamaica, with one win and two losses, lie third in Group B on two points, and now have to defeat Scotland and Uganda by huge margins and hope that England or South Africa lose their remaining games in order for them to sneak into the semi-finals.

Fowler-Reid, the West Coast Fever goal shooter, has delivered her usual outstanding play so far but was quick to admit that the team was bitterly disappointed, particularly with higher expectations placed on their shoulders ahead of the tournament.  The attacker, however, insisted the players would try to recover.

 “We’re devastated, we’re disappointed because we wanted to go further,” she said. “But what can we do? We’re not going to kill ourselves.”

 

 

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls went into the 2019 Vitality Netball World Cup on a high. Days before the competition began in Liverpool, England, the Caribbean netball queens had risen to number two in the world rankings.

World number two-ranked Jamaica were left searching for answers after a stunning upset at the hands of South Africa at the Netball World Cup on Sunday.

Facing a deficit for most of the match, the Sunshine Girls fought back late on, but in the end, the South Africans held on for a 55-52 victory.  Led by shooter Lenize Potgieter the Proteas established an early 16-9 lead after the first quarter.

Jamaica played much better in the second quarter, but it was South Africa who stretched their lead by another four goals as they netted another 16 points.  At half time the score was 32-21 at half-time.  A big third quarter from Jamaica saw the team outscore the South Africans 17-10 to begin the final period just four points adrift. 

The top three in each group advance to the second preliminary phase. South Africa’s win over Jamaica sets them up well for the run to the semi-finals.

The Jamaicans were two down heading into the final minute and saw their chances ended when the Proteas won a crucial interception.  Jhanelle Fowler-Reid led the way for the Jamaicans with 38 goals from 39 attempts, Potgieter was 36 from 39 for the South Africans.

Despite a poor shooting night from ace goal shooter Romelda Aiken, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls have managed to maintain a perfect record after two games at the Vitality Netball World Cup in England.

Playing against Trinidad and Tobago, who were on the backfoot after an opening-day loss to South Africa, the Sunshine Girls started slowly but eased away to a 68-43 win.

“Not the best start. Not the start we wanted,” said Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, the Sunshine Girls captain.

Fowler-Reid was referring to the closeness of the first quarter the Sunshine Girls just managed to edge, 17-15.

Unfortunately for the Sunshine Girls’ Caribbean opponents, they could not keep pace and lost the second quarter 25-8, to go into halftime 42-23.

“We picked it up in the second quarter,” said Fowler-Reid, who was also quick to point out that her team needed to quit making unforced errors.

T&T would not quit after that dreadful second quarter and scored 11 goals in the third but still trailed badly on account of 15 goals from the Sunshine Girls.

At 57-34, going into the final quarter, the game was well and truly over, but credit to T&T, they were not in the mood to throw in the towel, giving as good as they got to end the quarter 11-9. Of course, that was no help on the final scorecard but it might give the Caribbean side some confidence headed into their final group game against Fiji.

Aiken ended her night with seven goals from 13 attempts, a very conservative outing for the usually prolific goal shooter. Rebekah Robinson didn’t have a great game at goal attack either sinking 11 of her 20 attempts, but fortunately for the Jamaicans, their squad runs deep.

Fowler-Ried, replacing Aiken, was brilliant, knocking down 38 goals from just 40 attempts, while Shanice Beckford was almost lights out from the goal attack position, scoring 12 of her 14 attempts.

The four were largely too good for the efforts of T&T’s Samantha Wallace, 19 of 24, Jameela McCarthy, five of six, and Kalifa McCollin, 19 of 21.

Speaking about Aiken’s sub-par performance, Fowler-Reid, expressed confidence.

“There is no concern for Romelda. She will be ok for the next game. She just had to get over some jitters and remember how good a shooter she is,” said the skipper.

Fowler-Reid did issue a warning to her teammates though, saying South Africa were not the team to make the kind of mistakes they have, against.

“There are too many turnovers. These are unforced errors. Errors that we cause on our own. South Africa is going to punish us if we do that because they are an awesome team,” said Fowler-Ried.

While issuing the warning, the skipper did return to her confident base, saying she was sure the team would get it right when the time came to do so.

“We know what we can do and we can correct that in no time,” she said.

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