Connie Francis, the head coach of Jamaica’s senior netball team was effusive in praise of the young, inexperienced team that soundly defeated a game St Vincent and the Grenadines team 74-35 in an exhibition match at the Americas Netball Qualifier at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Kingston, Jamaica on Sunday night.

Led by Jhanielle Fowler, the best shooter in the world, the Sunshine Girls was comprised of Goal Attack Amanda Pinkney, Wing Attack Quannia Walker, Centre Abigale Sutherland, Wing Defense Tafiya Hunter, Goal Defense Kimone Shaw, and Goal Keep Theresa Beckford.

Passing at speed before feeding Fowler and Pinkney in the circle, Jamaica quickly established a lead in the opening quarter 18-8 with Fowler scoring 11 goals. Pinkney added six goals before being subbed off for Gezelle Allison who played the rest of the half.

Francis explained afterwards that taking Pinkney out early in the game was at the request of the player who was feeling the frantic pace.

“She indicated to us that she was winded and it was only fair for us to pull her because we have eager players willing to go out there and play,” the coach said.

“I thought that she was really having a fantastic game but you could see that the intensity from attack to defense was not there so we pulled her and re-inserted her and she came in and she did a really fantastic job.”

Allison’s entry into the game caused a temporary disruption to the flow which resulted in several unforced turnovers. However, she quickly settled in to support Fowler who was not at her sharpest missing five shots by the half-time break as Jamaica widened their lead 42-15.

Pinkney returned as a replacement for Fowler to start the third quarter and demonstrated her natural shooting skills scoring 25 from 30 for the game as Jamaica took a 61-24 lead into the final quarter.

Jamaica outscored their opponents 13-11 in the final stanza to secure an easy win before a vociferously vocal crowd.

Francis said the close margin between the teams in the final quarter was caused by a couple of factors.

“I think it’s just how we take care of the ball. We had lots of ball in our possession and we gave up some. It’s about sticking to the tactical play because at times St Vincent had this front play and it was really giving us some form of headache,” she said, “but we keep reinforcing that we have to recognize and do allow the coaching staff to say people are making a run because of this particular play, but overall I think that this young bunch, six debutantes in a game like this, this is the type of exposure that we need to give our young players to grow in order to make the final cut for Cape Town.”

The Netball World Cup will be played in South Africa next summer.

During the game, St Vincent and Grenadines head coach Godfrey Harry frequently switched out their attacking players, which created some problems for the inexperienced Jamaican team. Chief among the disrupters was Joseann Antoine whose movements off the ball challenged Jamaica’s defenders, who struggled to keep up with her.

She was the best of the scorers for her team netting 17 goals from 20 attempts and got good support from Shellise Davis, who scored three goals from five attempts.

Francis conceded that the frequent substitutions did create problems.

“I thought that their players actually were making an impact. I thought that was really a good tactical play because the first change that he made it really inspired their team and they were having a run at us so it’s for us to recognize when teams come up with tactical plays and making changes that we just stick to the game plan and keep pushing forward in order to put more points on the board,” she said, while praising her girls for facing up to the challenge.

“It’s a young team. We just have to big them up for all the effort because I thought that we were contested. The Vincent and the Grenadines team is not an easy team. Not because the scoreboard didn’t reflect that; I thought that it was not a true reflection of what was happening on court but all in all I love this bunch of young players who came in and gave 110 percent.”

In other games on Sunday night, Trinidad and Tobago defeated St Lucia 63-25, while Grenada came from behind to beat the Cayman Islands 50-40. Meanwhile, the USA defeated Antigua and Barbuda 34-22.

 

 

Facing the number-one team in the world twice in the same tournament proved a hill too steep to climb for Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls on Sunday after losing 55-51 to the now four-time Commonwealth Games champions Australia in the gold medal match at the NEC Arena.

Despite heroic efforts from Captain Jhanielle Fowler who scored 46 goals from 47 attempts and a perfect five from Shanice Beckford, Jamaica found the Diamonds too hard to break the second time around.

Jamaica defeated Australia 57-55 to win Pool A in the preliminary rounds and followed up with an emphatic 67-51 victory over New Zealand, the second-best team in the world that claimed the bronze medal Sunday morning after defeating England 55-48.

In the gold-medal encounter, the Australians edged Jamaica 14-12 in a keenly contested first quarter but the Jamaicans showed grit rebounding to win the second quarter 17-15 to see both teams remain deadlocked at the half-time break.

Australia broke the game open in the third quarter outscoring the Jamaicans 16-10 to take a six-point lead into the final stanza. Australia extended the lead to seven goals late in the quarter but Jamaica was not prepared to yield and fought valiantly outscoring the champions 12-10 but it was simply not enough.

Jamaica missed only one shot from 52 attempts during the final.

Gretel Bueta led the scoring for the Commonwealth champions, shooting a perfect 37 goals from 37 attempts. Cara Koenen was also perfect scoring 15 goals from 15 attempts.

The Sunshine Girls will leave Birmingham with a silver medal their highest ever placing at the Commonwealth Games.

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls rallied from a six-point fourth-quarter deficit to stun three-time gold-medallists Australia to top Pool A at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday.

In the intense battle between the unbeaten top two teams in the pool, Jamaica led by Jhanielle Fowler’s 47 goals from 50 attempts and Shanice Beckford’s perfect 10 from 10, outscored the Diamonds 17-9 to pull off their first victory over the three-time champions at the Commonwealth Games.

Australia enjoyed a slim one-goal lead at the end of the first quarter 14-13 but as Jamaica gained confidence they matched the Australian’s 16-16 to remain one goal down at the half-time break.

The experienced Australians surged to a five-goal lead in the third quarter, winning the stanza 16-11 before the Jamaicans, the only team to score 100 goals in a match at this year’s Games, turned the game on its head with a 17-9 score-line to get a famous victory. Jamaica levelled the score with eight minutes to go before taking the lead for good with four minutes left to play.

Australia’s Gretel Bueta led the Diamonds’ scoring with 36 goals from 39 attempts while Steph Wood scored 19 goals from 22 tries in the losing cause.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls crushed their Caribbean rivals Barbados Gems 103-24 to go 3-0 in their 2022 Commonwealth Games campaign on Monday.

For a record third year in a row, Jamaica’s standout shooter Jhaniele Fowler has been voted MVP of the West Coast Fever franchise of the Suncorp Super Netball League. She is now also the first winner of the Stacey Marinkovich Medal.

The MVP Award was renamed the Stacey Marinkovich Medal this season to honour the former captain and coach’s legacy at the club, which included being appointed inaugural captain and coaching 104 games, including two Grand Finals.

Fowler won the Stacey Marinkovich Medal with 55 votes ahead of captain Courtney Bruce with 35 votes and rising star Sunday Aryang with 21 votes.

“I am very grateful for all that this team has invested in me as a person and as a player and always believing in me, year in, year out,” said Fowler, who topped the scoring this past season with 883 goals at 96 per cent accuracy.

 “Since I’ve been here in 2018, I’ve only wanted to do my best by this club to perform my best.

“I’m so much more mature in my game and in my personal life since I’ve been here and I’m very grateful for that. This wouldn’t have been possible without my amazing teammates so I’m very thankful to them too.”

In her four seasons in Super Netball, Fowler has scored 3455 goals for the Fever. Her 57 offensive rebounds were second overall and she was the Nissan Net Points leader board with a total of 1611 points.

The towering Jamaican recently signed for two more years with the Fever.

Jhaniele Fowler scored the winning goal moments before the final whistle as the West Coast Fever rallied to defeat Giants Netball 66-65 in a thriller at the RAC Arena Monday.

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