After a day of much-needed rest and recovery, Sunshine Girls Head coach Connie Francis is anticipating another solid performance from her team at the Vitality Netball World Cup, when they take on Caribbean rivals Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.

The number four-ranked Jamaicans, who have won all four games contested so far at the tournament in Cape Town, South Africa, will be seeking to make it five-in-five, but the number 10-ranked Calypso Girls is not expected to make it easy.

Francis is very much aware of that given their history, so though her Sunshine Girls are enjoying a rich vein of form at present, she is taking steps to guard against complacency.

Jamaica’s most recent victory was a 61-49 scoreline against Uganda, while Trinidad and Tobago will be trying to bounce back from a 28-69 defeat to host South Africa.

The game is scheduled to begin at 9:00am Jamaica time.

“We are still on the right path of going for gold, the coaching staff has been rotating some players to ensure that when the big game comes around, we are able to get the job done. We are more than capable of putting on a good show when it comes to rest and recovery and as I always say, different combination gives you different games, so it was really good to get a day for them to unwind and come again,” Francis told

With the Jamaicans determined to break a lengthy medal-less drought at the tournament dating back to 2007 when the won the last of their three bronze medals, Francis pointed out that they will also be using tomorrow’s contest to fine tune aspects of their game, ahead of the top of the pool clash with reigning champions New Zealand.

“Our defence continues to hunt balls which is good, so going forward against Trinidad we will have a different combination and then possibly rotate some of our starters in that game just to keep them as fresh as we possibly can so the mind and the body will be aware that we still need to play, especially as we look forward to that game against New Zealand,” Francis said.

“We know they play a very structured type of game, their defensive line up and their attacking line up are both good, but we are confident that all of our players are more than capable of counteracting what they have. So, our focus is really on these games based on how we attack and our all-round defensive effort. We are already playing at a high percentage rate, so we just need to keep that up and really give ourselves a chance for that gold,” she added.

Victory against Trinidad and Tobago will assure the Sunshine Girls of a semi-final spot and by all indications, they will have number one-ranked Australia or number-three ranked England to contend with at that stage.

This is another reason why Francis stressed the need to stay locked in from the start of each game going forward, if they are to reach their ultimate goal.

“When you put fresh legs and fresh combinations in, it kind of keeps the consistency going, so it's important to get other players on court competing, not just seven or eight players.  So going up against Trinidad we are confident but not overconfident, as we are focused on our possession game and taking care of the ball.

“So, we are going to send in a combination with some new players, not everybody will play, but it is an opponent to give more players longer playing time on court because we want it to be a case that any combination, we put out there, will be successful,” Francis ended.

If you ask Head coach Lorne Donaldson about Jamaica’s women’s football legacy, he will tell you that it started from their campaign to the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup in France, when they initially demonstrated utter resilience to accomplish the historic feat.

Then, the Reggae Girlz programme, through the unwavering commitment of women’s football ambassador Cedella Marley, as well as the Bob Marley and Reggae Girlz Foundations, experienced what could only be described as a rebirth from the ashes, after it was discarded and literally forgotten about by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

Since then, the players and coaching staff –much like Marley –adopted the mentality to always focus on the task at hand, despite the financial shortfalls and other proverbial brick walls faced along the way.

So though much has been said about their recent exploits, Donaldson declared that what the world is once again witnessing is the remarkable grit of the Reggae Girlz outfit, as the players are no longer intimidated by obstacles, particularly those that come in the form of competition.

“When we got to that World Cup in 2019, I was the assistant and Hue Menzies, big praises to him, we worked together that squad, but we weren’t planning on going to the World Cup. Cedella Marley was brave in calling us up and having us help out because the football in Jamaica had diminished and we put it together and miraculously we got to the World Cup,” Donaldson shared.

 “Now we think we can take it further. So, the legacy started from there, but we still have a long way to go to achieve what countries like Brazil and others have achieved, so for now we are just trying to grow,” he added.

Donaldson’s views follow the Girlz momentous run at the ongoing showpiece being co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, as they are on the cusp of bringing a dream to fruition and, by extension, rewriting their names in the annals of Jamaica’s sporting history.

To do that, the 43rd-ranked Reggae Girlz require only a point off number eight-ranked Brazil in their decisive Group F encounter at the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium on Wednesday.

Kickoff is 5:00am Jamaica time.

The Girlz, who secured an historic point of top-ranked France in a goalless stalemate, followed that up with their first ever World Cup win by virtue of a 1-0 scoreline over Panama, to currently sit second on four points.

Leaders France are also on four points, but with a slightly better goal difference, which matters little, as they are overwhelmingly favoured to snare all three points off Panama.

Pia Sundhage's Brazil side is third on three points and must beat Donaldson’s side, if they are to progress from the group stage for a seventh-consecutive Women's World Cup.

Though on paper the Brazilians are heavily favoured to achieve their objective, the Reggae Girlz have proven that they are not to be underestimated and they possess the willpower to once again shock the world of women’s football.

And Donaldson agrees that the Jamaicans faith are in their own hands.

"Brazil is a powerhouse and I think we relish the challenge, all along we knew we were coming in as underdogs, even throughout the qualifiers we were underdogs. So, it's nothing new to us, we have to just be ready to come out and try to match them as best as we can,” Donaldson said.

“I said it before that we have grown from the qualification phase in Mexico because we really haven't had a lot of games after that and like I said, the players are resilient, they have worked hard and I know they would want to stay (in Australia) a bit longer, so we are going to come out and give it our best,” he noted.

While Brazil suffered defeat to France, Donaldson is under no illusions that they will approach tomorrow’s game with the same tactics, especially with Reggae Girlz talismanic captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw set to return from a red card suspension.

Shaw, along with Cheyna Matthews is expected to rejoin Jody Brown up in attack, while Donaldson and his assistants could stick with Drew Spence, Vyan Sampson and Atlanta Primus, in midfield.

At the back, Rebecca Spencer should again be shadowed by Swaby sisters, Allyson and Chantelle, flanked by Deneisha Blackwood on the left, while Tiernny Wiltshire could reclaim her staring spot at right back.

“I'm sure Brazil will make the adjustments from what happened in that France game, obviously we will try to limit some stuff and just use what we think we are capable of doing,” Donaldson shared.

“There are nerves but we just have to go in and enjoy it, we don’t have anything to lose, we just have to go out enjoy ourselves and play. A player like “Bunny” Shaw is going to pose problem for anybody, we are happy to have her back and obviously we can use her in areas that we didn't against Panama and try to be effective, but everybody has to do their job,” he ended.

Jamaica’s Senior Women’s Volleyball Team created history on Sunday after defeating seven-time defending champion Trinidad and Tobago in a nail biting 5 set thriller 3-2 [25-21, 15-25, 23-25, 25-19, 15-13] to win the 2023 CAZOVA Women’s Championship at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Paramaribo Suriname.

This is Jamaica’s first ever championship at the senior Level.

The Jamaicans started strong by winning the first set 25-21 and lost the next two sets to the defending champions 15-25 and 23-25. The Jamaican’s then regained their momentum to win the fourth set 25-19 to force a decisive fifth set.

Anesia Edwards, who had three consecutive blocks in the fourth set to change the tide for the Jamaicans, sustained an injury in the final set but Jamaica maintained their composure to win 15-13.

Outside hitters Michael Vernon, Simone Asque-Favia and Captain Sashalee Thomas led the way for the Jamaicans in the fierce encounter.

It was sweet revenge for the Jamaicans who lost to Trinidad and Tobago in the final of the 2017 Championship at the National Indoor Sports Centre in Jamaica, the last time Jamaica participated at this level.

Jamaica has broken Trinidad and Tobago’s winning streak of seven consecutive CAZOVA titles and also went undefeated during the Championship.

Meanwhile, Barbados came back from behind to earn a 3-2 (19-25, 23-25, 27-25, 25-23, 15-12) win against host Suriname in their match for the bronze medal.

Barbados fought their way back from the brink of elimination after losing the first two sets.

The Barbadians got going in the third set and took over the game.

 Jamaica's Sunshine Girls continued their triumphant run at the 2023 Netball World Cup, securing their third consecutive win and handing South Africa's Proteas their first defeat in a thrilling showdown on Sunday.

With a resounding scoreline of 67-49, the Caribbean team displayed their dominance on the court, leaving a sold-out crowd at the Cape Town International Convention Centre in awe, even if disappointed at the outcome.

Led by star players Jhanielle Fowler, who scored 39 goals and Shanice Beckford, who had 19, Jamaica asserted their authority from the outset, taking the lead in all quarters and establishing a 32-26 advantage by half-time. Despite the spirited support of the home crowd, South Africa struggled to close the gap against the Commonwealth Games silver medalists.

Goal shooter Lenize Potgieter, who was making her first appearance at the World Cup after recovering from a mild niggle, put on an impressive performance, scoring flawlessly with 17 goals. However, the Sunshine Girls were unstoppable, maintaining possession and extending their lead in the third quarter with an impressive 18-3 scoreline, putting them ahead at 51-29.

As the game reached its climax, South Africa made a valiant effort to bounce back, but Jamaica's precision and determination were unmatched. The final score of 67-49 firmly established Jamaica's supremacy, signaling their dominance in Pool C.

While Nichole Taljaard and Ine-Marí Venter tried their best, making 11 out of 14 shots and 8 of 9 shots respectively, it wasn't enough to halt Jamaica's relentless assault.

The victory places Jamaica at the top of Pool C, securing their spot as the pool leaders, while South Africa takes the second position. The Sunshine Girls' impeccable performance and consecutive wins have boosted their confidence as they advance in the Netball World Cup, further fueling hopes of a first World Cup title.

Jamaica’s Under-17 Men’s Basketball team ended group play with an 0-3 record at the FIBA Under-17 Centrobasket Championship in Belize after suffering a 43-76 defeat against Panama at the Belize City Civic Center on Friday.

D’Marley Elliott shot 6/13 from the field to finish with 13 points and six rebounds for Jamaica and he was supported by Ahmad Torrence (11 points) and Marcus McDonald (10 points).

It was a total team effort from the victors as they had five players scoring in double figures. Daniels Machore, Luis Poyatos and Lionel McDonald all scored 13 points while Hector Saavedra and Isaac Wright both had 12.

Panama also dominated the rebounding battle 55-43.

The Jamaicans had previously lost their first two games 54-102 to Puerto Rico and 68-93 to the hosts on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.

Puerto Rico and Belize advanced to the semi-finals from Group A while Mexico and the Dominican Republic advanced from Group B. Puerto Rico will face Mexico while Belize will tackle the Dominican Republic on Saturday.

Jamaica’s next game will also be on Saturday when they face Costa Rica for the right to advance to the fifth-place playoff. The loser will play in the 7th place playoff against the loser of the game between El Salvador and Panama.

Stand-in captain Allyson Swaby scored Jamaica’s first goal of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup and second ever at the global showpiece, as the Reggae Girlz secured an historic win with a 1-0 scoreline over Concacaf rivals Panama at Perth Rectangular Stadium in Australia on Saturday.

Swaby’s all-important strike, her second ever for the Reggae Girlz, came in the 56th minute of a lively encounter, which the Jamaicans expectedly dominated for the most part.

In fact, the Girlz could have won by a wider margin, as they were fluent in their buildups and produced a few colourful plays in patches, however, a combination of faulty shooting, poor decision-making and some good glove work by Yenith Bailey in goal for Panama, denied them.

Swaby, who along with her younger sister Chantelle was the heart of Jamaica’s defence, was almost emotional about the entire outcome.

The win pushed the Girlz up to four points in Group, same as leaders France, who earlier defeated Brazil 2-1. The Brazilians, who entered the match day on top with three points, have been relegated to third and will lock horns with Jamaica in what will be a decisive contest on August 2.

“This is something that you dream about when you play in a World Cup and I am so happy that I could do it and be the difference maker today,” she said in a post-game interview.

“They (Panama) played really well, that was definitely the hardest match we have played against them and its exciting because it means that Concacaf is growing, and this tournament is just showing that.

“But the win is huge, it keeps our dream of getting out of this group alive and we know we have one more game to fight through and we are just happy to be in a position to compete in this group,” she added.

Given the absence of talismanic captain Khadija “Bunny” Shaw, Head coach Lorne Donaldson made three changes, as Tiffany Cameron came in at right back, while Kayla McKenna and Trudi Carter joined Jody Brown in the three-pronged attack.

With Panama playing a defensive 5-4-1 formation, the 43rd-ranked Reggae Girlz were expected to rely on their pace and athleticism down the channels to possibly breakdown the backline.

After Panama fired the first warning shot in the fifth minute, the Reggae Girlz settled into their game and offered a quick response when Atlanta Primus’ pass over the top found Cameron, whose left-footed shot after a brief melee, went wide of the right upright.

The Girlz again went close when Drew Spence sent McKenna on her way and the former Rangers forward played a weighted pass across the six-yard box for the arriving Carter, whose effort was deflected wide.

The resulting corner floated in by Carter also presented another opportunity, but a left-footed effort by Primus was blocked by a defender.

As they continued to apply consistent pressure, the Girlz created a few more half chances, two of which came in quick succession, as Spence fired a 33rd-minute effort into the sidnetting, and two minutes later Vyan Sampson’s shot from a distance was well saved by Bailey diving full stretch to her left.

Panama was not without hope, as they tried to play their game and were almost gifted a goal through some sloppy defending, fortunately for the Jamaicans Marta Cox’s effort from deep inside the 18-yard box, lacked any real pace to beat Rebecca Spencer.

Much like they started the half, the Jamaicans also ended on a high but still without the breakthrough, as Spence’s well-taken free kick from just over 20 yards out, was tipped unto the crossbar and by Bailey, who ensured it remained goalless at the break.

Though absorbing some pressure at the top of the resumption, the Girlz later asserted their authority and again went close when Carter’s effort deflected wide by a defender.

The resulting corner again taken by Carter was expertly met and headed in by captain Swaby, giving Bailey no chance at a save.

Jamaica should have doubled the lead a minute past the hour mark, when Brown played a delightful through-pass to McKenna, who dismissed the advancing Bailey. But the striker sporting the number 22 jersey had a heavy first touch that pushed her too wide to get a shot off.

After pressing and probing, the Jamaicans thought they would have inevitably got a second from the penalty spot when Spence’s shot from outside the 18-yard box was handled inside the red zone. However, the decision to award the 12-yard kick was overturned by Ukrainian referee Kateryna Monzul on a VAR review in time added.

Teams: Jamaica –Rebecca Spencer, Vyan Sampson, Allyson Swaby, Chantelle Swaby, Deneisha Blackwood, Atlanta Primus (Peyton McNamara 87th), Trudi Carter (Cheyna Matthews 65th), Drew Spence, Tiffany Cameron (Tiernny Wiltshire 87th), Jody Brown (Solai Washington 80th), Kayla McKenna (Kameron Simmonds 80th)

Subs not used: Sydney Schneider, Liya Brooks, Konya Plummer, Havana Solaun, Kalyssa Van Zanten, Paige Bailey-Gayle,

Booked: Blackwood (31st)

Panama –Yenith Bailey, Wendy Natis, Katherine Castillo, Yomira Pinzon, Deysire Salazar (Aldrith Quintero 46th), Emily Cedeno, Schiandra Gonzalez (Carmen Montenegro 78th), Marta Cox, Riley Tanner, Lineth Cedeno (Karla Riley 64th), Carina Baltrip-Reyes (Hilary Jaen 87th)

Subs not used: Farissa Cordoba, Sasha Fabrega, Nicole De Obaldia, Erik Hernandez, Laurie Batista, Rebeca Espinosa, Rosario Vargas, Natalia Mills,

Booked: E Cedeno (13th), Salazar (18th)

Referee: Kateryna Monzul (UKR)

Assistant referees: Maryna Striletska (UKR); Paulina Baranowska (POL)

Fourth official: Akhona Makalima (RSA)

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls produced another strong showing to make it two-from-two at the Vitality Netball World Cup when they defeated Wales 75-40 in another lopsided affair in Cape Town, South Africa on Saturday.

While it was not the most convincing performance to follow up their record 105-25 opening win over Sri Lanka, the number four-ranked Jamaicans did enough to secure their sixth win over the ninth-ranked Wales in what was their seventh meeting.

Captain and ace shooter Jhaniele Fowler again led from the front scoring 39 goals from 41, with Romelda Aiken-George, who took over second half duties, sinking 19 goals from her 21 attempts. Goal attacks Shanice Beckford and Rebekah Robinson contributed five and 12 goals from six and 14 attempts respectively.

With the win, the Jamaicans, who are aiming to break a lengthy medal drought dating back to 2007 when the country last won one of its three World Cup bronze medals, moved up to four points and are assured of one of three spots to the next round.

Head coach Connie Francis opted for a completely different starting seven on this occasion with Shamera Sterling, Latanya Wilson and Jodi-Ann Ward in defence. Nicole Dixon-Rochester started centre court, as Khadijah Williams and Shanice Beckford occupied the wing attack and goal attack positions behind big shooter Fowler.

Jamaica forced three turnovers off Wales' centre pass and, as such, rushed into a five-goal lead before the opponents responded. Despite Wales finding an early rhythm of their own to gradually close the gap at 9-6, the Sunshine Girls accelerated late on to end the quarter with a 12-goal lead at 23-11.

The Sunshine Girls' tempo in the early exchanges of the second quarter was a stark contrast to what it was in the first, but when they eventually got going –particularly at the defensive end where Sterling and company had a number of deflections and interceptions –it brought Fowler's accuracy into play, as they went on to outscore Wales 21-12 for a 44-23 half-time lead.

However, Francis and her team were left with much to figure out, as they struggled to maintain that tempo with their usual speed and flair dropping significantly after combination changes in the second half of the encounter.

In fact, they only mustered 31 goals across the last two quarters which is fairly low by their standards, especially coming off a record high performance against Sri Lanka.

Though they scored high at 90 percent, the Sunshine Girls conceded 16 turnovers and that remains a cause for concern for Fowler, heading into a much tougher contest against the number five-ranked host South Africa at 11:00am Jamaica time, on Sunday.

“I think the entire team played well, the fact that we had changes going throughout the quarters and when everyone went in the just slot in and did their part which is really good. But yeah, we have to make sure that we limit our turnovers and also tighten up on some of our contacts,” Fowler said in a post-game interview.

Meanwhile, Sterling, who was named player of the game, said they always expected a tougher contest against Wales.

“Coming off the win against Sri Lanka and then coming to play Wales, which is a more structured and organised team, we know it was going to be more competitive and we were prepared for that. So, it was just a matter of trying to tweak and fix some of the little things that we need to do,” Sterling noted.

On paper it seems Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz already have their first ever Fifa Women’s World Cup win in the bag, but if they have learnt anything from securing their first ever point in a goalless draw against France, it is never to underestimate the opponent.

So, though they are up against a familiar foe in Concacaf rivals Panama, who they defeated in previous meetings, Head coach Lorne Donaldson is mindful that anything can happen, especially if his team doesn’t execute accordingly.

As such, the coach and his assistants have taken steps to guard against complacency and if the 43rd-ranked Reggae Girlz perform to expectations, then they will again be celebrating at the end of their second Group F contest, at Perth Rectangular Stadium on Saturday. 

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30am Jamaica time.

Despite coming out victorious against the 52nd-ranked Panamanians on penalty when they qualified for their first World Cup in 2018, and again 3-1 for a sendoff game ahead of the France 2019 showpiece, Donaldson insists that his Girlz are still wearing the underdog tag which means they will be no means take their opponents lightly.

“We consider ourselves as being underdog all the time, so we just have to come out with that mentality and our work ethic has to be good. We can’t rely on what happened in the past, so our approach is to come out and fight all the way and we are ready to fight,” Donaldson declared during a pre-game press conference.

“We expect Panama to come out and make it a dogfight, like us, they are here for a reason, so we expect them to make a tight game of it because all the teams in this World Cup are giving their very best. So, we have to come out and ensure that we execute well to get a result,” he added.

The Girlz are currently on a point, same as fifth-ranked France, after the historic draw, while Brazil holds pole position on three points and Panama, pointless.

A win would put the Girlz in a strong position to progress from the group and that by all indications is there clear and only target, though their job would be far from finish, as they still have Brazil to contend with on August 2.

“We have to treat (this game) the same way we treated ourselves against France. We don’t look at them (Panama) as the underdogs, we look at them as a competitor, so the celebrations from our high against France are over, it is time to move on and try to get our first win and put ourselves in a good position,” Donaldson stated.

Though they will be without inspiration captain and lead striker Khadija “Bunny” Shaw to a red card suspension, Donaldson pointed out that they will insert someone who is very much capable of getting the job done.

“It’s tough being without your all-time leading scorer but we are finding ways to get stuff done and we have somebody ready and raring to go to get the job done. So, we are just preparing that person and just going to get after it, we might change a few things but not much,” the coach noted.

That said, he could again start with Rebecca Spencer in goal, shadowed by Swaby sisters Chantelle and Allyson in the heart of defence, flanked by Tiernny Wiltshire on the right and Deneisha Blackwood on the left.

Drew Spence, Atlanta Primus and Vyan Sampson, could again be tasked with midfield duties, while Jody Brown and Cheyna Matthews, could be joined by 19-year-old debutant Kameron Simmonds in the three-pronged attack.

Allyson Swaby, who is expected to wear the captain’s armband on this occasion, is anticipating another tough encounter.

“The last time we played each other it was a high-pressure match, so we expect it to be similar this time around and I think we are going to use our momentum to try and lead us out there tomorrow,” she said.

“We did something great against France but that could easily be erased if we don’t show up, come out and put our best foot forward. So, we are excited to still be competitive, our objective was always to get out of this group and that dream is still alive, so it depends on what we do tomorrow,” the elder Swaby added.

Undefeated Jamaica advanced to Sunday’s final of the 2023 CAZOVA Women’s Championship after beating Barbados in straight sets 25-16, 25-21, 25-21.

Jamaica awaits the winner of the next semi-final between host Suriname and defending champion Trinidad and Tobago to determine their opponent in the final.

Suriname women clinched their semi-final berth where they will face defending champion Trinidad and Tobago. The hosts beat Barbados 3-1 (25-17, 25-21, 24-26, 25-19) at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Paramaribo. 

Outside hitter Ketura Margaret led with 22 points with team captain Sandrina Hunsel adding 15 points including two blocks and four spikes. Outside hitter Shonte Seale of Barbados had a game high 17 points.

Suriname coach Sergio Valdes praised her victorious team. “We played very good today. I am happy my team stuck to the plan. Now we will face Trinidad once again. We lost against them but it will be a much better game this time around.”

Barbados defeated Bahamas 3-1 (25-23, 25-16, 23-25, 25-22) to book their spot in the men’s final of the 2023 CAZOVA Volleyball Championships in Suriname on Friday. They will face either hosts or Trinidad and Tobago.

Barbados was incredibly dominant in the semi-finals at the Anthony Nesty Sport Hall only giving up one set to The Bahamas on their way their 14th appearance in a CAZOVA final. Team captain and outside hitter Oxley led Barbados with 22 points.

Barbados coach Elwyn Oxley was full of praise for his team, stating“All the credit are going to the players. The have fought all through this tournament. Especially those young players we have coming up doing great stuff out on the court. Let’s see who will we meet in the final on Sunday.”

Meanwhile, Jamaica ended the Men’s Championship in fifth place after defeating Martinique 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-21).

Friday’s victory over Martinique was bitter-sweet for Jamaica’s coach Gatasheu Bonner.

“Yesterday (Thursday) was a disappointing match for us. We didn’t get the result we wanted but it pressed us to come back today to show energy and life, which is a great opportunity for this group,” he said.

“We try to teach our team that every game matters and tomorrow hopefully we’ll show up to be the team we want to be. This tournament will be a lesson to move forward with volleyball in Jamaica.”

Losing coach Eddy Erialc said his team’s performance was disappointing, saying, “We didn’t show up today. It is like we couldn’t make any good points in the attack. We will evaluate and do things for developing the game in our country.”

In the men’s quarter-final Thursday defending champions Suriname had beaten Jamaica’s men 3-2 (23-25, 25-20, 20-25, 28-26, 15-9) in a thriller at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Paramaribo.  

Jamaica dominated the opening set but Suriname fought back to win the second set in the contest between the evenly-matched teams. However, Suriname took control of the final set to book their spot in the semi-final.

 Zefanio Breinburg led Suriname’s scoring with 21 points and got backing from outside hitter and team captain Keven Sporkslede with 16 points. Outside hitter David Pinas was a key player in the final set with 11 points.

For Jamaica, Owayne Lawrence had a game high 21 points and outside hitter Ryck Webb contributed with 17 points.  


Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls expectedly opened their Vitality Netball World Cup campaign with a bang, as they hammered Sri Lanka 105-25 in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday.

The number four-ranked Jamaicans were dominant from the start and didn’t relent against their number 15-ranked opponents for a minute with the towering combination of Romelda Aiken-George and captain Jhaniele Fowler sharing goal shooting duties across two quarters apiece.

Though the Sunshine Girls usual bad habit of making unforced errors kicked in at one point, Aiken-George with 33 goals from 34 attempts and Fowler with 42 goals from 43 attempts, spared their blushes, as goal attacks Rebekah Robinson and Shanice Beckford, contributed 17 and 13 goals respectively.

With the win, the Jamaicans assume pole position in Pool C, ahead of host South Africa, who were 61-50 winners over Wales.

Jamaica’s Head coach Connie Francis started with two debutants in Latanya Wilson at goal defence and wing defence Crystal Plummer, as Robinson and Aiken-George got the starting goal attack and shooter roles ahead of Beckford and Fowler.

The potent attack of the Sunshine Girls saw them open a brisk five-goal lead inside the first 30 seconds, as they displayed their usual speed and flair that delighted crowd, especially when Aiken-George scored a lay-up shot.

In fact, the Jamaicans were so dominant that Sri Lanka’s first goal came almost seven minutes into the opening quarter, which eventually ended 26-5.

Jodi-Ann Ward joined Kadie-Ann Dehaney and the dynamic Plummer in defence for the second quarter and the trio proved too formidable for Sri Lanka’s attackers, as their consistent deflections resulted in the Jamaicans firing in 14 unanswered goals, before the opponents belated got their first almost nine minutes in.

From there, they went on to register a 52-11 half time lead, which all but signalled the writing on the wall for Sri Lanka.

The Jamaicans signalled their intent to hit the century mark with the introduction of Fowler at the start of the third quarter and she flawlessly scored her first 14 attempts, with Beckford providing the necessary support to again outscore Sri Lanka 23-7 for a 75-18 lead heading into the final quarter.

That final quarter represented the best display from Sri Lanka in the shooting circle as the matched the Jamaicans goal for goal in the early exchanges.

However, once the defence lead by Shamera Sterling and player of the game Wilson, found back their rhythm, they forced a number of turnovers and orchestrated some quick transitions for Fowler and Robinson to finish off and propel Jamaica to the 14th 100-plus goal scoreline in the tournament's history.

It was also the first 100-plus score by a team at the World Cup since 2015, when Malawi achieved the feat ironically, also against Sri Lanka.

While the Sunshine Girls scored at 89 percent, they also had 17 turnovers, an issue that Francis is hoping to correct going forward.

“From the first day when we assembled here, I saw the hunger and the will to execute well, and I am very impressed with my team. We made a number of changes just to work on combinations and also to manage the workload because the thing that we are trying to work on mostly is our turnovers.

“We know we have players that can hunt and win balls which makes them dangerous, so it is just to minimize the turnovers some more and we will be good,” Francis said.

For Fowler, the execution was on par for the most parts.

“We wanted to come out and practice some of our strategies and make sure we are cementing some of our plays. Romelda and I are both amazing shooters so either one starting a game is fine, we are just more focused on gelling as best as we can and just going one game at a time,” the captain shared.

The Sunshine Girls will next face Wales on Saturday at 4:00 am Jamaica time.

Shelly Ann Fraser Pryce, a name synonymous with excellence in track and field, continues to defy expectations and push the boundaries of what is possible in the sport. With an awe-inspiring record of five 100m world championships and two Olympic 100m gold medals, one might wonder what keeps her coming back to compete.

She answered that question on Thursday with a post on social media saying, “I think I’ve reached a point where I have nothing to prove to anyone but, at the same time, I think I have a lot to prove to myself.

“There’s a difference when you believe something and you know what you’re capable of or what’s within your reach. You want to make sure that you’re pushing yourself towards it and trying to accomplish it. I think that was me last year, where I just totally forgot about anybody else’s expectation and just focused on what I know I can do.”

The post reiterated sentiments expressed in a recent interview with Athletic Weekly, where she revealed her burning desire to run faster as the driving force behind her relentless pursuit of greatness. She states, "I used to refrain from stating clearly what I want, and I believe I can run faster – that’s really what has kept me here. I believe that with every fibre of my being."

Last year's consistent runs of seven 10.6 seconds showcased her immense potential, but Fraser Pryce firmly believes there is more to achieve. The prospect of dropping her time further propels her forward, as she remains steadfast in her pursuit of perfection.

What truly sets Fraser Pryce apart is her insatiable hunger for something new, something undiscovered. Despite her remarkable accomplishments, she remains excited and enthusiastic about her journey. The Jamaican sprint queen admits, "I wake up every morning and I go to practice and I’m like, 'man, I’m still doing this.' I still feel good, I still feel hungry."

As her career progresses, Fraser Pryce now views her role as an opportunity to inspire and impact the younger generation of athletes. She sees herself as a living example of what can be achieved with unwavering conviction and dedication. "It’s about impact, showing other athletes what you can do if you really have that conviction," she passionately states.

At 36 years old, Fraser Pryce understands that age should not limit her aspirations. She challenges the notion of ageism in sports, expressing frustration that other athletes in different disciplines can continue, while track and field athletes often face premature retirement. As long as she remains healthy, she vows to keep showing up, rewriting the record books along the way.

Fraser Pryce's dedication to her craft is unparalleled, and she is mindful of how she spends her time. Despite being a devoted mother, she prioritizes her training and even delegates cheering duties to her son's father during football matches. She knows that every second counts in her pursuit of greatness.

Surprisingly, after so many years at the pinnacle of the sport, Fraser Pryce remains humble and self-aware, acknowledging that she still has room for improvement.

 “I don’t have the best technique. I really have to work hard to cement it. It’s something that I have to go to the line and actively process in my head to say ‘this is what we’re doing, this is what we’re doing Shelly’ so I’m still learning to do that,” she states.

“I think one of the things is learning to do it being relaxed, as well as making sure that it’s automatic, it’s something that I can switch on and switch off if I need to. A lot of that takes concentration and replicating it daily in practice. It must be consistent and I think the more times I’m able to do it is, the easier it will become.”

Jamaica’s women remained undefeated during their preliminary round matches and have clinched a semifinal berth at the 2023 CAZOVA Championship being held in Suriname.

After defeating defending champions Trinidad and Tobago in their previous match, Jamaica blanked the Bahamas 3-0 [25-16, 25-21, 25-22] at the Anthony Nesty Sports Hall in Paramaribo. Outside hitter Mychael Vernon led with 14 points, joined by opposite and team captain Sashalee Thomas with 14 points.

On Wednesday, Jamaica outgunned the defending champions in a five-set thriller 3-2 (25-14, 25-23, 22-25, 15-25, 16-14).

The Jamaicans dominated the two opening sets but Trinidad and Tobago roared back to win the next two sets and force a decisive fifth set.

In a contest where both teams were equally matched, Jamaica capitalized on the unforced errors by Trinidad and Tobago to clinch victory. Outside hitter Mychael Vernon led with 24 points. Team captain Sashalee Thomas had 18 points.

Jamaica remains the only undefeated team in the Women’s championship.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's men progressed to the quarterfinals after defeating Bahamas, 3:2 [25-16, 25-19, 21-25, 27-25, 15-11] to end the preliminary round with two wins and a loss and will now face defending CAZOVA Men’s Champion and host Suriname in the quarterfinal.

They may be three Caribbean Islands with different cultures and different styles of play. But what Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados all have in common, is their unflinching desire to leave an indelible mark at the Vitality Netball World Cup.

All three teams will bow into action in Cape Town, South Africa on Friday with Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls up against Sri Lanka, Trinidad and Tobago’s Calypso Girls squaring off against reigning champions New Zealand, while Barbados Gems, are up against England’s Roses.

The number 10-ranked Calypso Girls will be the first in action at 3:00am Jamaica time, with number two-ranked Silver Ferns expected to prove a handful for the Joel “Twiggy” Young-Strong-coached team.

And while Trinidad and Tobago boast the legacy of being the only other team to win the World Cup title, along with New Zealand and Australia in the tournament’s long history, captain Shaquanda Green-Noel is realistic about their expectations.

“I think we are very honest and realistic with what may be the end result of the game, so even though we are extremely competitive, we are just going in thinking about the small wins in terms of reducing the margin.

“The mood in the camp is a bit of excitement and nervousness, the senior players are more the ones excited to get on the court because the Netball World Cup is one of the biggest platforms to showcase our talent. The young players are a tad bit nervous, but also excited to make their Netball World Cup debut,” Green-Noel told

“The girls are also very prepared for what is to come, New Zealand are defending champions and we would have done research on what they have to offer and how they play, and I think it (this game) is a great way for us to test out the skills we worked on coming into the World Cup. The last time we played New Zealand, I don’t think we had a very good game, so this is a chance to improve,” she added.

Uganda and Singapore are the other two teams the Calypso Girls will face in Pool D.

Jamaica, the highest ranked Caribbean team at number four, are out to end their 16-year medal drought at the Netball World Cup, dating back to 2007, when the last won one of their three bronze medals. 

They will enter their opening Pool C contest against 15th-ranked Sri Lanka as overwhelming favourites, especially on the back of their historic silver medal-winning performance at the Commonwealth Games last year.

Still, Sunshine Girls Head coach Connie Francis is not taking their opponents lightly, as she is well aware that it will require proper execution from her team to get the job done.

Match time is 11:00 am Jamaica time.

“The ladies are mentally and physically prepared and they want to do something special at this tournament which is to win a medal. But we don’t know much about the Sri Lankans and so we don’t intend to take them lightly,” said Francis.

Though the off-court security issue in which captain Jhaniele Fowler was robbed, is cause for concern, Francis pointed out that the team remains focused on the task at hand.

“Yes, it is bad and very disappointing that has happened on a stage like this, but the ladies remain focused on what they came here to do, which is to execute well and win a medal and that starts with tomorrow’s game,” she noted.

The Sunshine Girls will also have Wales and the host nation to contend with in Pool C.

Meanwhile, number 13-ranked Barbados Gems, have drawn a tough Pool B in which they have England, Malawi and Scotland to deal with.

They open against the number three-ranked Roses at 1:00pm Jamaica time.

While getting by the Roses will take some doing, the Gems are by no means expected to play dead, especially with the addition of sisters Kadeen and Sasha Corbin, who both switched allegiance from England to represent Barbados.

Number one ranked Australia, Zimbabwe, Fiji and Tonga will contest Pool A.

Phase 1 Academy and Camperdown Giants were the only two teams to go unbeaten as the 2023 Jamaica Basketball Showcase got underway at the Alfred Sangster Auditorium at the University of Technology (UTECH) in Kingston on Thursday.

Defending champions, Phase 1 Academy, entered their first game with just five players but that didn’t seem to matter as they secured a comfortable 41-27 victory over Purple Power.

Derjean Royal led the way for Phase 1 with 20 points and five rebounds while Mordecai Clarke had 10 points and six rebounds for Purple Power.

Phase 1 Academy coach, Onecia Smellie, praised her team’s effort despite their lack of numbers.

“As you can see, we don’t really have numbers so the strategy was just to conserve on defense and push on offense. We have to play smarter because we don’t have numbers,” Smellie said before going into what they needed to address to be better in the coming games.

“We definitely have to brush up on defense. We gave away a lot of backdoor cuts. As we can see, my guys have been playing for a while but sometimes when the excitement of the game comes in, adrenaline kicks in and they just go. We definitely gave away some easy layups and we weren’t boxing out sometimes. If we work on those areas I think we should be fine,” she added.

Coach Orville Bennett from Purple Power was critical of his team’s ability to play together but says more experience will do them well.

“More games will solve that. It’s a mix of my younger players and my more senior Under-19s so they need to learn to play as a team and not individuals.”

“I guess it’s because of the bright lights of the tournament, everybody wants to show what they have so with more games under their belt, that will go away.”

“Our opponents will be bigger, stronger and more seasoned then my young team so we’ll go back to the drawing board and come better.”

The day’s second game was an absolute treat as the Hoop Factory Blues pull out a dramatic 44-41 win over Blue Mahoe Basketball.

Blue Mahoe played a solid first half to go into the halftime interval with a 14-12 lead before Hoop Factory turned the game on its head to lead 26-20 after the third quarter.

Blue Mahoe retook a 38-37 lead with 1:27 left in the game before, with the teams tied at 41 with 10 seconds left, Dakari Nicolson hit a game-winning three-point shot with two seconds left to secure the win for Hoop Factory.

Kymani Phillips had a solid all-round game for the Blues with 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists and was supported well by Nathan Ricketts with 12 points, five steals and three assists. Hubert Rodney had 13 points and seven rebounds for Blue Mahoe.

Hoop Factory coach, Lennox Lindo, was happy with the win despite his team almost blowing a 10-point lead with very little time left in the contest.

“I was nervous a bit but also a bit disappointed too. We had a 10-point lead with about three minutes to go then we changed up our defense and it almost cost us the game but we got a really good shot in the last couple of seconds.”

Blue Mahoe coach, Lynford Brown, was proud of his team despite the defeat and pointed to an inability to hold on to the ball as his team’s downfall.

“To be honest, I’m really proud of my boys. They’re a fairly inexperienced and young team. There were some key moments for us where we committed some unforced turnovers which led to us losing. Nonetheless, I’m very proud.

The third game of the day saw the Camperdown Giants score an impressive 54-35 win over last year’s finalists, the Caribbean Basketball Academy (CBA).

The Giants produced an excellent defensive display to lead 30-15 at the start of the fourth quarter, including a third quarter where they held CBA to just four points.

Micah Swaine had 15 points, three steals and two assists and Mark McGowan had nine points and eight rebounds for the giants while Jaiden Brown had 12 points for CBA.

CBA coach Ludlow Barker, thought the Giants deserved to win.

“First I’d have to congratulate the Giants on getting their first win of the competition. It’s the first time they’re in it,” he said.

“I thought we played a very indiscipline game and fell behind and then we struggled throughout. I thought we were too relaxed before the game and they came out and wanted it more so they deserved to win,” he added.

Giants coach, Nylon Hurd, was happy with the win.

 “Any coach would be happy with a win. Both defensively and offensively, it worked out well for us,” he said.

“Based on the start, we got ahead of them and stuck to it. We only got a bit indiscipline in the third quarter and that’s when they made a little run but then we got back disciplined and that was the game,” he added.

After a break, play returned with Phase 1 Academy facing Hoop Factory Blues, with each team searching for their second win of the day.

Phase 1, with six players this time, were able to come out 51-40 winners.

Derjean Royal had his second great game of day one with 26 points and eight rebounds for Phase 1 while Nathan Ricketts had 14 points for the Blues.

The day’s fifth game saw Blue Mahoe hand Caribbean Basketball Academy their second loss of the day by a score of 45-44.

Akeem Pusey and Hubert Rodney both had 14 points for Blue Mahoe while pulling down seven and eleven rebounds, respectively. Joel Ricketts had 13 points and five rebounds for CBA.

The day’s final game proved to be another nail-biter as Camperdown Giants beat Purple Power 34-29 for their second win of the day.

The Giants led 8-5 after a cagey first quarter before Power turned things around slightly to lead 18-16 at the half. It was a one-point game in favor of the Giants entering the final quarter where they held their nerve to pull out the win after the two teams exchanged the lead multiple times.

Micah Swaine scored 13 points while Mark McGowan had six points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Giants. Jacqwaine Freeman had 11 points for Purple Power.



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