Too risky to play final match
NETBALL Jamaica president Marva Bernard has a positive outlook on the Sunshine Girls tri-nation series in England despite a spate of injuries which crippled the performance of the squad.
The Jamaicans, who returned home on Wednesday last, were forced to cancel their final match of the series against England after a total of six players suffered injuries or illness.
According to Bernard, it was decided that "it was too risky" to play that last game "that was going to be physical".
The local netball boss did not make the trip to the United Kingdom, but she said that based on what she heard, there were encouraging signs.
"I haven't got the full report yet but we are going to be debriefed. The feedback we are getting of the team is that they performed creditably. The Girls fought real hard," she told the Jamaica Observer.
The Jamaicans lost 46-52 to New Zealand's Silver Ferns last Friday before falling to a 38-46 defeat to England's Roses a day later.
Earlier this week, they went down 40-45 in a practice encounter versus England 'A'.
Bernard said Sabrina Spence, Shanice Beckford and Sasha-Gay Lynch all sustained ankle injuries while Khadijah Williams suffered muscle spasms in her back. Paula Thompson had an infected big toe and star shooter Jhanielle Fowler picked up pneumonia. The netball boss added that coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie also lost her voice due to illness.
The Jamaica squad was already without world-rated shooter Romelda Aiken following a knee injury she sustained ahead of the trip.
Netball Jamaica saw the tri-nation series as an avenue to face top quality opposition on overseas soil ahead of the Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow, Scotland in the summer.
"We had five young players on the team who were going to England and playing a Test match for the first time," replied Bernard when asked about the inauspicious nature of the tour.
"Based on what I've heard in interviews the potential is great. The injuries we can't do anything about because that is sports. We still have work to do to get the players mentally and physically ready for the Commonwealth Games."
Bernard, a former manager of the national team, thanked the Jamaica diaspora for helping the team while they were in the United Kingdom.
"There are some Jamaicans in England whom I have to thank because they made themselves available to us every time we tour England or Scotland. They are our training partners up there and they are really supportive of the Girls every time we visit," she said.
The Sunshine Girls are ranked fourth in the world behind top team New Zealand, Australia and England.