Connie Francis mulls mid-court changes after turnovers cost Sunshine Girls in 45-55 loss to England

By November 29, 2021

Sunshine Girls Head Coach Connie Francis is considering making changes to the team’s mid-court ahead of the second Test between Jamaica and England on December 4.

 This as she believes turnovers, especially those in mid-court was among the key factors contributing to why Jamaica lost 45-55 to England’s Roses on Sunday after having held a lead over the home team for the first half of their contest at the Copper Box Arena in London.

Jamaica led 27-25 at half-time but was outscored 16-9 and 14-10, in the third and fourth quarters, respectively, as England surged to a commanding victory.

Speaking with Sportsmax.TV after the team arrived in Nottingham on Monday, Francis also said the Sunshine Girls lacked match fitness and as a result, were not at their best in the second half. She also takes some of the blame for not adjusting to a few tactical changes England made during the game.

Notwithstanding those issues, Francis believes England are in a much better place than her team at this juncture.

“England right now is a better-conditioned team than us. They are an in-form team coming off a successful tour in New Zealand and they have a really good squad. Nevertheless, we took a really good squad but we have some players in our group that have not been playing netball for 18 months,” she said.

“So, for one, I don’t think we have reached our fitness goals as yet and, two, we lost our focus because we should have gone out there and capitalized in that third quarter.”

That said, Francis revealed that they are going back to the proverbial drawing board as they begin preparing to correct the errors made in the opening match of the three-Test series.

“We are in Nottingham now and we are going to a training session. Tomorrow we have another training session, we have a video session, so we have some days to also try some new persons in that mid-court area because at times I think out mid-court is a little too stagnant,” Francis said.

“Trying to get some players who have been there done that to add to that rotation and that didn’t help so it’s about moving out some other players from their comfort zone into that mid-court to see if we can get some more height and strength in because I think that having 27 turnovers wasn’t good enough and most of them were in that mid-court.

“If we had fixed some of those passes, some of those through-court plays, those feeds into our shooters then it was possible (the result) would have gone the other way around.”

Where Francis blames herself is that she didn’t react adequately to personnel changes England made in goal attack and goalkeeper positions, which made a significant difference.

“I think that possibly I could have done something a little different because when I looked at the tape I see where they had made a tactical change and I tried to fix it but it just didn’t happen,” she said.

“I thought that our defending team stood up extremely well for the most part but when England made those crucial changes and instruction was given, we didn’t rise to the instruction. So we are going back to the drawing board looking at where we have gone wrong and try to fix it.”

Considering the circumstances, Francis said she was proud of her team’s performance on Sunday.

“I am really proud of the girls and their effort,” she said. “They tried to stay with England for the most part but the continuous unforced errors, we just had to pay for them.”

Games two and three are to be played on December 4 and 5 at the Motor Point Arena.

 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

Related items

  • Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard's record scoring leads West Coast Fever to victory over NSW Swifts Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard's record scoring leads West Coast Fever to victory over NSW Swifts

    West Coast Fever star Jhaniele Fowler-Nembhard delivered a record-breaking performance on Sunday, scoring 73 goals to lead her team to a 78-71 victory over the New South Wales Swifts in the Suncorp Super Netball League.

    The win, witnessed by a home and away record crowd of 11,267, secured Fever's second spot on the Super Netball table.

    The match came on the heels of a tumultuous week for the Swifts, who announced the release of Trinidadian star Samantha Wallace-Joseph on Friday due to "behavior concerns." The loss of Wallace-Joseph, a key player for the Swifts, left the team struggling to adjust their gameplay and maintain cohesion on the court.

    Despite the Swifts' impressive tally of 18 supershots to Fever’s one, they were outplayed from the beginning.

     Swifts co-captain Maddy Proud admitted the controversy surrounding Wallace-Joseph had taken a toll on the team. "While it has only come out this week, we have had to deal with it for probably a month. There was a little bit of a relief in a way that all that speculation now has a conclusion," she said following the loss. "It would be silly to say that it hasn’t affected the group. We are a very tight-knit group and we had played with Sammy for eight years. We won two premierships with her and have been through a lot."

    The Swifts, still adjusting to playing without a holding shooter like Wallace-Joseph, faced early challenges in feeding a moving circle. This led to moments of confusion between Helen Housby and youngster Sophie Fawns, resulting in both players moving into the same space.

    The Fever capitalized on the Swifts' ball-handling errors in the second term, extending their lead to 14 points heading into the third term's power five. Although Fawns managed a flurry of supershots, hitting 11 out of 14 two-point goals, it wasn't enough to close the gap.

    Fowler-Nembhard's exceptional aerial prowess earned her MVP honours for the match. Her performance not only secured a vital win for the Fever but also highlighted her as a continued formidable force in the league.

    The Fever's victory reinforces their strong position in the league, while the Swifts will need to regroup and adapt quickly to their new team dynamics as they navigate the rest of the season without Wallace-Joseph.

  • Adelaide Thunderbirds sweep GIANTS in dominant 57-42 win to close in on top spot Adelaide Thunderbirds sweep GIANTS in dominant 57-42 win to close in on top spot

    In what was another clinical all-round display, Adelaide Thunderbirds registered their seventh win of the Suncorp Super Netball (SSN) League, as they bettered GIANTS Netball 57-42 in a lopsided contest at Ken Rosewall Arena, on Saturday.

    Demonstrating their exceptional depth and quality across the court, Thunderbirds, the reigning champions, led from start to finish in a dominant win that propelled them to second on the ladder, and reaffirmed their status as a strong contender in the race to the finals. 

    Jamaican Romelda Aiken-George scored 38 goals from 47 attempts for the Thunderbirds, with support from Lauren Frew (10 goals from 13 attempts), Georgie Horjus (five goals from seven attempts), and Lucy Austin (four goals from five attempts).

    Sophie Dwyer (24 goals from 25 attempts), Jo Harten (14 goals from 16 attempts, and Matisse Letherbarrow (four goals from four attempts) led the efforts of the GIANTS team, which comprises Jamaican defender Jodi-Ann Ward.

    Thunderbirds, on 28 points, are now eight points off leaders Melbourne Vixens (36 points), with West Coast Fever, who will be up against New South Wales (NSW) Swifts on Sunday, in third on 28 points.

    After coming off an all-important win last week against the Queensland Firebirds, GIANTS were looking to secure a back-to-back victories and keep their hopes of breaking through to the top four alive.