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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