Sunshine Girls brace for high-riding England

Howard Walker

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

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A relatively inexperienced but confident Jamaica netball team go into battle today with their English counterparts in what is expected to be an exciting three-test Supreme Ventures Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Centre starting at 4:30 pm.

The gates will be opened from 3:30 pm and there will be added pre-game entertainment with popular artistes, Fast 5 netball matches, Celebrities versus Masters match-up and Corporate men taking on Media men in shoot-outs.

England are ranked third in the world with Jamaica at four, and although both teams will be hoping to improve their rankings, the aim of this series is mainly to blood some youngsters for the 2013 World Junior Championships set for Scotland in August.

The England Roses are fresh from an impressive 3-0 series win over World Champion Australia in January, and with seven members from that squad here in the Caribbean, Jamaica's young team will have their hands full.

Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) President Marva Bernard promises non-stop excitement and believes her young guns will do well against an English team bubbling with confidence, especially having beaten Jamaica 2-1 last September.

"The coach told me training has gone well and the girls are ready to give the kind of performance that we expect. We really want to do well in this series," Bernard told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

Veteran Nadine Bryan with 154 caps will again lead the team, but will share captaincy role with the two other senior persons in the team in Malysha Kelly, who has 46 caps, and Sasha-Gay Lynch with 12.

The rest of the squad consists of first-timer Sabrina Spence and mostly players with under five caps, including one 17-year-old Shanice Beckford from Camperdown High School.

The England Roses, also with a relatively youthful squad, will again be led by 29-year-old Pamela Cookey who has 78 caps and the experienced goal-shooter Rachel Dunn seeking her 50th cap.

But playing at home, the talented bunch could rise to the occasion and surprise their more fancied opponents.

In a warm-up match on Sunday, Jamaica's Under-21s narrowly lost 41-42 to England and that must be as encouraging as it can get

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