'We were excited and raring to go'

Jamaica vice-captain Williams says team was highly motivated against Fiji

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
@ The Netball World Cup
In Liverpool, England

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — Jamaica vice-captain Vangelee Williams was not surprised by the big 85-29 win over minnows Fiji that got them up and running in the 2019 Netball World Cup.

“I wasn't surprised, because I knew once the whistle went that my girls would be turned on,” she told the Jamaica Observer after yesterday's match at M&S Bank Arena.

“We were excited and raring to go because we just want to do so well. We have a lot of passion, so even when we make a mistake we don't dwell on it. We were firing from the first centre pass, so I'm really proud of that.”

Williams, who started at goal defence yesterday, said it was not always as easy as it might have appeared.

“Fiji are very physical, but we had targets today. The fact that we came out here and we achieved those makes us proud,” she noted.

Captain and prolific goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler came off the bench but still stood out with 33 goals from 35 tries, while Romelda Aiken hit 26 of 36 shots.

The number two-ranked Sunshine Girls were up 19-8 to close the first quarter, 40-14 at the half-time break, and 67-18 at the end of the third period.

Though sometimes the team was careless in possession, the defensive unit was mostly airtight. Jamaica restricted the Fiji team to eight goals in the first quarter, six in the second, a measly four in the third, and 11 in the fourth.

Williams said they tried their best to comply with a pre-match directive from their demanding skipper.

“The captain, Jhaniele, told me and the defenders that Fiji should be kept to 10 goals for the entire game. I told her that was unrealistic, so we tried to keep them below 10 per quarter and we almost achieved that, and in the third quarter they only scored four,” the 27-year-old player told the Observer.

“The defence was really good because we closed them out with a lot of their plays. We were always right there, so they struggled to get balls to the post.”

Williams conceded they weren't at their sharpest at all times, but she said she expects improvement as the tournament progresses.

“Even though it wasn't always smooth, it's nothing that we can't fix. Even for me, I didn't catch the ball well because I took my eyes off it. And there was the [wayward] passing, so those are simple things. We aren't there yet, but it's better than we were weeks ago,” she said.

The Sunshine Girls are next scheduled to face number 10-ranked Trinidad and Tobago today.


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