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 registered a historic 67 – 51 win over New Zealand to advance to the netball final of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England on Saturday.

The result followed up another big win for the team, after getting by world number one-ranked team Australia in Pool A.  The Jamaicans are now scheduled for a rematch with the Australians in the final.  The Australians defeated England 60-51 in the day’s other semi-final.

Against New Zealand, Jamaica captain Jhaniele Fowler had a perfect 54 goals from 54 attempts to lead her team.  The Jamaicans got off to a strong against the world number two ranked team and ended the first quarter with an 18-9 lead.  It was an advantage they never really surrendered, despite a strong fourth-quarter rally from the Kiwis.  New Zealand were led by Grace Nweke who netted 24 goals from 24 attempts.

New Zealand will face off with England in the bronze medal match, which will also take place on Sunday.  The appearance will be the first in the Commonwealth Games final for the Sunshine Girls, having previously won three bronze medals.

Jamaica Sunshine Girls head coach Connie Francis has credited the team’s commitment to patience as a crucial component in a historic win over Australia at the Birmingham Commonwealth Games on Thursday.

The Jamaicans registered a 57-55 win in the Pool A encounter, a result that marked the first time the Sunshine Girls were registering a win over the number one ranked team at the Commonwealth Games.

The Sunshine Girls staged a furious fourth-quarter rally after trailing Australia 46-40 at the end of the third.  According to Francis, a key part of that success had to do with taking better care of the ball.

“We went back to the basics, pushed it around, looked for short and long passes, something that we are not accustomed to but we have implemented for this tournament,” Francis said.

“We decided we were going to be very patient and not make silly passes, only one silly turnover was on the side and I thought we should not have gone there because we had other players that could have taken the ball,” she added.

“At that stage in the later part of the game when we surged forward, they were determined to keep the lead because that is what we have been practicing and that is what they wanted.  They wanted this victory more than anything else.”

The team’s highest finish at the Commonwealth Games is third, which they have achieved on three separate occasions.

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

Jamaica’s Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports is backing Netball Jamaica’s hosting of the Americas Netball World Cup Qualifier for the 2023 Netball World Cup to the tune of US$77,000 (JMD$12 million).

Minister Olivia Grange, the official patron of the event, made the announcement at the launch of the qualifier at the NCB Care and Wellness Centre on Phoenix Avenue in Kingston on Thursday.

“The Ministry and its agencies are providing ($JMD1.8M) to Netball Jamaica for team preparation, $2.5m for transportation and will be covering the cost of rental of the National Indoor Sports Centre where the qualifier will take place from October 16 to 21, 2022,” Minister Grange said.

Ten teams will be playing in the Qualifier for the two remaining places in the World Cup. Jamaica has already qualified by virtue of its number four world ranking, a fact of which the minister takes great pride.

“I am proud, all of Jamaica is proud of this first for Netball Jamaica; playing host for the staging of a Netball World Cup Qualifier,” Minister Grange noted.

“History will also be made when the next Netball World Cup, the 16th edition, takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, South Africa since it will be the first time that the tournament will be held on the African continent. South Africa has gained a reputation for the staging of world-class events so we can expect something extra special when they host the Netball World Cup.

“The upcoming Qualifier will certainly serve to project Netball Jamaica afresh to the nation.

“I am deeply moved that Netball Jamaica would see fit to honour me by asking me to be Patron for the Americas Netball World Cup Qualifier.

 “So who is a Patron and what is the duty of a Patron? A Patron is a distinguished person who gives financial or other support to a person, organisation, or cause. 

The most effective Patron will have a passion for what the person or organization does. Need I say more?”

The minister also suggested that Netball Jamaica needs to see their value if they are to convince corporate Jamaica to provide the needed support.

“Netball Jamaica will tell you that I have challenged them to reimagine how they see themselves. Their value is great and we need corporate Jamaica to come on board in a greater way to support them. I would love to see partners coming on board to provide a bus, sports gear and all the other services they need because I am sure that our Sunshine girls will give sponsors value for their money!”, she said.

“Sport and the opportunity to participate in sport at all levels is a right that we take seriously. Netball is a favourite pastime in Jamaica and one that is practised from the primary school levels in Jamaica. We know that through the work of the Institute of Sports (INSPORTS) we have netball competitions at the primary level. There is also competition at the high school and tertiary levels.

“We want to see the sport grow in Jamaica and continue to give our girls and yes, boys too, the avenue and outlet to express themselves and dare to dream to play at higher levels.

  “We anticipate that on the final day of the Netball World Cup on August 6, 2023, when Jamaica celebrates its 61st Anniversary of Independence, our Sunshine Girls will be one of the two teams competing for the title and that they will be the new champions of world netball.

 “Netball and our Sunshine Girls have always made us proud.” 

 

 

Jhaniele Fowler scored 57 goals as Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls defeated England’s Roses 63-53 for a consolation victory in the England Roses Vitality Series that concluded on Sunday.

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.

 

 

 

England’s Roses took a 1-0 lead in their three-Test series against Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls after they rallied to win 55-45 before a packed Copper Box Arena in London on Sunday.

Jamaica started well, outscoring their opponents 11-10 and 26-25 at the end of the first quarter and half-time, respectively. Jamaica’s lead was largely down to outstanding performances from Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Sterling, who caused England’s shooters significant challenges in the first half.

England’s defensive players turned the tables against Jamaica after the interval Eboni Usoro-Brown kept Jhaniele Fowler quiet and forced multiple changes in Jamaica's attack-end as the home side took control of the game to outscore Jamaica 16-9 in the third quarter and 14-10 in the fourth to pull off a commanding victory.

Fowler scored 40 of 41 attempts for the Sunshine Girls, who also got five goals from Shanice Beckford.

Jo Harten scored 30 of 39 and Eleanor Cardwell 20 of 22 for the Roses.

England had lost four of their last five games against Jamaica.

The second and third Tests will be played on December 4 and 5 at the Motor Point Arena

Led by Jhaniele Fowler’s near-perfect shooting, Jamaica took a 2-0 lead over Trinidad and Tobago, after winning 64-32 in the Margaret Beckford Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Complex on Tuesday.

Fowler, arguably the best shooter in the world, did not start as Sunshine Girls head coach Connie Francis chose to open with Gezelle Allison and Shanice Beckford. However, the pair of attackers were unable to sufficiently spur the Jamaican attack as the first quarter ended 12-8.

They fared slightly better in the second quarter and they extended the four-point lead to 10 to lead 24-14 at halftime.

However, once Fowler was substituted in at the start of the third quarter, the Sunshine Girls got an immediate lift and extended their lead to 22 and led 44-22 at the end of the third. Fowler would eventually score 36 goals from 38 attempts as Jamaica won by 32.

Allison finished with 13 goals from 20 attempts while Shanice Beckford scored 12 from 14.

Afisha Noel led the scoring for the Calypso Girls with 17 goals from 20 attempts with support from her captain Kalifa McCollin, who scored 15 goals from her 16 attempts.

Jamaica will go for the sweep tonight when the teams meet again in the final match of the series.

 

Sunshine Girls Head Coach Connie Francis is expecting a much better performance from her shooters when they play Trinidad and Tobago in the second game of their series at the National Indoor Sports Centre on Tuesday.

Jamaica demolished their Caribbean rivals 71-22 on Saturday night with Jhaniele Fowler leading the way with 43 goals. Defensively, Jamaica was stifling limiting their opponents to only six second-half goals in a comprehensive victory.

However, Francis was not pleased with certain elements of the Jamaican execution.

“I was a bit disappointed with the shooting. I thought we were more than capable of doing a better job,” said Francis, who said the only player who she would excuse was Shanice Beckford who has not played in 18 months.

“I thought Jhaniele was too casual. Her style has changed a bit since she began playing in the Super League. She is not catching or elevating as she usually does.”

Francis also believes the team needs to tighten up defensively.
“Trinidad was able to get the ball through from the Jamaica attacking area into midcourt and into their shooting area without much pressure,” she explained.

She said she plans to tackle those areas of concern before the next game on Tuesday.

“We have a training session today (Sunday) and another on Tuesday morning, these ladies are professionals playing in leagues abroad, we should be capable of making those adjustments,” she said.

Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls could be forced to make adjustments for next month’s tri-series following the reported withdrawal of South Africa from the tour.

Originally, the series was set to feature the no 4 ranked Jamaicans, 5th ranked Australians and 10th ranked Trinidad and Tobago and was set to tip-off on October 9th.  However, negotiations between Netball South Africa and the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) are said to have broken down due to the island’s rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The JNA is expected to give an update on the situation in the next few weeks with a replacement team being added being another possibility that is being looked at.

The series will be the first for the Jamaicans since the Netball World Cup in 2020, the team is, however, also expected to travel to England, in September, where they will face the England Roses in a three-match series.  The Sunshine Girls had been due to face England in January of this year, but those plans were postponed due to then-existing Covid-19 travel restrictions.  The team will be looking to vastly increase its activities in the coming months with the Commonwealth Games scheduled for next year.

The Jamaica Sunshine Girls are set to take on England in a three-match series dubbed the ‘Vitality Roses Reunited’ set for London, in November.

The teams were originally set to face-off in a series in January but that was postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and strict travel restrictions.  The upcoming series will still be subject to Covid-19 travel restrictions but will be played in front of a maximum capacity stadium, with measures regarding crowd sizes eased in England.

The series will help both teams begin preparations for the next year’s Commonwealth Games, which will take part in Birmingham, England next year.  The Jamaicans have not played in an official international competition since the World Netball Cup in 2020.

The series is set to tip-off on November 28th at the Copper Box Arena, before moving on to the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, with consecutive games on December 4 and December 5.

The four-Test Vitality Netball Legends Series between the Sunshine Girls and England Roses has been postponed because of extended restrictions to international travel between the UK and Jamaica because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, according to Netball Jamaica, they are discussing with England Netball, the possibility of having the series in November 2021.

The series was to have got underway on January 22 and was to have been shown live on SkySports in the United Kingdom.

“We are hugely disappointed that the series cannot happen in January, but with the extended restrictions to international travel between the UK and Jamaica, it isn't possible for the fixture to go ahead as planned," the statement from England Netball said.

“We would like to thank the Jamaican national team and the Vitality Roses for their collective efforts to plan and prepare for the series to date, and their support in making this decision.”

Netball Jamaica President Tricia Robinson explained that it was a collective decision based on the extension of travel restrictions from Jamaica to the UK until the end of January 2021 brought about by the ongoing spikes in the UK and the emergence of the variant strain of the virus that makes it easier to spread.

“We are naturally disappointed as this is a second postponement,” Robinson said. “The players are going on a little break now and will resume training in February.”

Robinson said that talks are ongoing between the two federations with a view to having the series later this year, with November being proposed as an appropriate time to resume. This is in light of the fact that players from both teams have been signed by teams in the Suncorp Super Netball League that gets underway in Australia in March.

 

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