Netball

Upbeat Sunshine Girls off to Down Under

Sunday, October 22, 2017

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For the first time in a year, a core of Jamaica's most experienced Sunshine Girls will take up the reins with hopes of a competitive showing at the two-day Fast-Five Netball World Series in Melbourne, Australia.

A 10-member squad to be led by top-rated shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and officials will depart the island today for Melbourne ahead of an action-packed weekend of netball on October 28 and 29.

The Jamaicans are yet to replicate their silver medal performance from the inaugural staging back in 2009, but have secured bronze medals in 2010 and 2013. Since then, they have finished fourth in 2014, followed by a disappointing fifth-place finish last year.

However, with Shanice Beckford, Paula Thompson, Adean Thomas, Khadija Williams, Stacian Facey, Vangelee Williams, and Malysha Kelly now joining forces with Fowler-Reid since the World Cup in 2015, a solid performance should be on their agenda.

The squad is completed by budding goal shooters Shimona Nelson and Rebekah Robinson.

Beckford, who along with Williams and Nicole Dixon were left out of the team that drew a three-match series against Caribbean neighbours Barbados Gem earlier this year, expressed her joy at being back among her peers in competition.

“I'm pretty much excited about this tournament; it is always nice getting out there on court with girls playing the game I love and we all love, so I am just going in confident of giving my best to help the team win a medal,” Beckford told the Jamaica Observer.

“The mood in the camp is great because we have a bunch of girls who are all ready to take on the task and do well. The team is much stronger now than it was against Barbados, and myself and the other senior players will always strive for excellence in leaving our best on the court,” the goal attack added.

The Jamaicans will go up against Australia, defending champions New Zealand, England, Malawi and South Africa in six 24- minute games across the two-day series. Each team will feature on both days of competition, with finals held on Sunday.

Squad: Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (Captain), Shimona Nelson, Shanice Beckford, Rebekah Robinson, Paula Thompson, Adean Thomas, Khadija Williams, Stacian Facey, Vangelee Williams, Malysha Kelly.

– Sherdon Cowan

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