Sunshine Girls buoyed despite series loss
THOUGH not yet quite sure if they will lose their world No 3 ranking following a 2-1 away Test series defeat at the hands of England this week, the Sunshine Girls returned to the island yesterday in high spirits and with a few lessons learned ahead of their next home series against their arch-rivals next April.
For Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) president Marva Bernard, the addition of sports psychologist Kadijah Richards made a huge difference.
"I think it was a good idea sending Kadija with these young girls to England. We would like to make this a permanent part of the preparation of our elite teams and we only hope our girls will meld together. What needs to be fixed is fixed and we will see where it goes from there," she said.
Bernard pointed out a number of areas with which she was pleased.
"I'm very proud of the determination that they showed even being four down to coming back to equalise and for us in the JNA, it gives some amount of confidence to the process that is taking place with the team now and we can only hope that it is going to improve."
Meanwhile, Richards believes her inclusion brought value to the team.
"There were definitely times when we had sessions and I could see the improvement after the games in the practise, so I feel there was a definite benefit to having me there," she said.
"They're just going to continue with the programme... working towards building the team cohesion and concentration and all those things that athletes need to perform successfully," she added.
Coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie said winning at least one match away was a morale-booster for the girls, adding that they could have also won the final game.
"It could have gone either way, but we really just need to seal the moment. We improved each outing. Unfortunately, we weren't able to cap the series but we did some things. We have a lot of work to be done. We had persons coming out on this tour really performing well and I'm grateful for that.
"It was much improved. We were able to execute, especially in the second Test. We didn't do a good job in the first Test. It's about consistency and being able to do it one match after the other," she explained.
Captain Nadine Bryan was disappointed they were unable to take the series, but was heartened by a few things on tour.
"The girls gained more experience. We went over there with the intention to win. It didn't happen, but we're satisfied because we gave it our best shot and we can't ask for anything else from them. I think we all worked hard," Bryan said.
"I think we have grown and reached a certain level now. The girls have gone on a few series so they have a little experience and coming so close to England with this young team is a plus for Jamaica's netball," she said.
"All the ladies looked at what they need to improve on and they're really committed to improve on it so that when England comes here we will win that series," said Bryan.
England won the first and third games, 63-51 and 62-58, while Jamaica took the second, 49-44.