Dixon, Allison ready to shine at Netball Nations Cup

Dixon, Allison ready to shine at Netball Nations Cup

Observer staff reporter

Thursday, January 16, 2020

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Newly appointed Vice-captain Nicole Dixon and fresh face Gezelle Allison are both hoping to make their mark at the Vitality Netball Nations Cup and assist the Sunshine Girls to a successful return to England.

The four-nation tournament will be the Sunshine Girls' first competitive outing since a series of dispiriting performances led to their fifth-place finish at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, last July.

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls, ranked at number four, are set to do battle with world champions New Zealand, hosts England and South Africa at the tournament scheduled for January 19-26.

Matches are slated for Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, Arena Birmingham, and Copper Box Arena in London.

Dixon, who will be second in command to experienced goalshooter Jhaniele Fowler, who has returned as captain, was in a positive frame of mind as the Connie Francis-coached team departed the island yesterday.

“It's a great feeling to be appointed the vice-captain of the Sunshine Girls team. The appointment comes with mixed feeling but I know I have to just stay focused on getting the job done and to execute efficiently.

“Before being named the vice-captain, I have been feeling positive about this tournament, but now that I have been given a position that comes with some amount of responsibility, it boosts my confidence and drive to do even more for myself and the country,” Dixon told the Jamaica Observer prior to departing the Norman Manley International Airport.

While exuding confidence of an improved performance on her part, Dixon is also content with the make-up of the team, which she believes possesses enough talent to give their more favoured rivals a competitive run.

Dixon, 24, is one of seven players in the current squad who featured at the World Cup. Fowler, Shanice Beckford, Jodi-Ann Ward, Khadijah Williams, Shamera Sterling, and Kadie-Ann Dehaney are the others.

“As the new vice-captain I just want to serve as best as possible and do my part faithfully. But it is all about the team, so my expectation is that every game we play will be beyond our best and we will leave everything on court.

“I believe we stand a good chance of winning just as any other team in the competition. We have versatility in the team and we are willing to make it work, so we just have to go out there and do what we need to on the day,” the soft-spoken centre court player reasoned.

Like Dixon, Allison, 24, who is one of the new faces in the senior Sunshine Girls team, is hoping to have an explosive debut while sharing goal attack duties with the experienced Shanice Beckford.

“It's always a great feeling and a pleasure to represent your country. I am at bit nervous knowing that I'm actually going to be playing at the international level and it will be a challenge, but it's one that I embrace and I'm sure I'll do my best once it soaks in.

“I just have to be mindful and make the right choices when I am on court and try to execute as best as I can. Once I do that and listen to my teammates then I will be very satisfied,” Allison, who also plies her trade for Appliance Traders Limited, told the Observer.

Jamaica squad — Jhaniele Fowler, Shimona Nelson, Shanice Beckford, Gezelle Allison, Jodi-Ann Ward, Nicole Dixon, Khadijah Williams, Shadian Hemmings, Shamera Sterling, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Latanya Wilson, Shannika Johnson.

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