Sunshine Girls coach happy with ‘ugly’ Uganda win
IT was not the type of performance that Jamaica’s Assistant Coach Shawn Murdock was expecting from the team against Uganda in their opening quarter-final match of the Netball World Cup on Monday, but in the end he said they were very happy for the victory.
The Jamaicans, ranked number four in the world, recorded their fourth-straight victory in the tournament with a 61-49 win over the Ugandans in Cape Town, South Africa.
The Sunshine Girls, who were at times sloppy — especially in the third quarter — committed 18 turnovers against the ninth-ranked Ugandans.
It was arguably the worst showing from the Sunshine Girls so far in the competition.
“It wasn’t the best performance because we never got the output that we wanted from the players, to be honest. It was an off game for us but we are happy with an ugly win,” Murdock told the Jamaica Observer.
“We just need to ensure that the ladies are well rested because we have a day off tomorrow [Tuesday], so that comes at a good time for them to recover and recuperate for the next match against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday,” he said.
The Jamaicans, who are among the favourites for the gold medal, jumped to a 15-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. They then increased their advantage to 38-21 at the half-time interval.
Captain and goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler had an excellent first half for the Sunshine Girls with a perfect 28 goals from 28 attempts.
She was well supported by goal attack Shanice Beckford who netted a perfect 10 goals from 10 tries.
Jamaica’s Head Coach Connie Francis made four changes to the team at the start of the third period, replacing Fowler with Romelda Aiken-George, and Beckford with Rebekah Robinson in the attack.
Vice-Captain Shamera Sterling was replaced by Kadie-Ann Dehaney as goalkeeper and Nicole Rochester-Dixon took the place of Adean Thomas at centre.
From there the Jamaicans lost their dominant grip and were outscored 11-16 by the Ugandans — but they still managed to hang onto a 49-37 lead at the end of the third quarter.
Aiken-George ended the match with a perfect 15 goals from 15 attempts as both teams scored 12 goals apiece in the fourth stanza.
Robinson contributed eight goals from nine tries for the Jamaicans. Mary Cholhok top-scored for the Ugandans with 28 goals from 33 attempts.
After playing four matches in as many days Murdock reiterated the need to refocus for their next two quarter-final games against Trinidad and Tobago and New Zealand on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively.
“We are just glad that we are getting this break and so the ladies will be ready to go again against Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday, and New Zealand on Thursday.
“It wasn’t the best performance against Uganda but we will go back and look at what we did wrong and try to do much better against Trinidad,” Murdock stated.