The Jamaica Sunshine Girls team will bow into action at Saturday’s opening day of the Fast5 World Series in Christchurch, New Zealand, Jamaica time.
The Sunshine Girls will play two matches on the opening day of the championships when they take on Malawi at 9:00 pm (Jamaica time) and will close out the day when they battle South Africa at 12:45 am (Jamaica time) on Saturday.
Moving into the second day of the first round on Sunday, the Jamaicans will play two matches. First, they will take on rivals England at 6:00 pm (Jamaica time), followed by a game against hosts New Zealand at 9:45 pm (Jamaica time).
In the last competition held in New Zealand, the Sunshine Girls finished sixth without securing a win. However, they have previously won three silver medals at the championships in 2009, 2017, and 2018.
Shawn Murdock, a co-coach of the side, along with Nicola Aiken-Pinnock, told the Jamaica Observer that the team is in high spirits going into the tournament and are very determined to end their medal drought this year.
“It is our goal to be on the podium, but we know that comes with hard work and dedication. We want to do our very best to be on the podium and the girls are cognizant of that, and so that preparations that we have done are on that path to success,” said Murdock.
“To get on the podium, we just have to eliminate the errors that we have been making and just score our goals. But for us to do that we have to ensure that we are winning balls and so it is going to require a full team effort from everyone in order to achieve this podium finish this year,” he added.
Murdock explained that the Sunshine Girls have adjusted themselves to the cold conditions in New Zealand and have looked positive in training.
“So far so good. We had two training sessions yesterday [Wednesday] and the ladies are looking good, and the mood in the camp is positive and so that is a plus for us going into this championships,” he said.
“The ladies have been acclimatising to cold conditions well because we thought we would have struggled with it, but the ladies have been doing well, and whenever we need any help, we have the doctor to help us out,” Murdock added.
Rhea Dixon, who had represented England at the Under-21 level, will be making her Sunshine Girls debut after expressing an interest in representing Jamaica for some time. She is qualified to represent Jamaica through her grandmother.
The world’s sixth most experienced Fast5 women’s teams — New Zealand, Australia, England, Jamaica, South Africa, and Malawi — are down to compete at the event.
Jamaica squad: Romelda Aiken-George (captain), Adean Thomas (vice-captain), Gezelle Allison, Theresa Beckford, Rhea Dixon, Abbeygail Linton, Amanda Pinkney, Crystal Plummer, Kimone Shaw, and Abigale Sutherland.