JAMAICA'S Sunshine Girls will have some positives to take with them going forward in their continued preparation for next year's Commonwealth Games after securing a consolation win over England to end the Vitality Netball 'Roses Reunited' Series on a high.
The Jamaicans, who lost the first two games of the three-match series 45-55 and 47-66, which condemned them to a first series defeat to the Roses since 2013, apparently saved their best for last to come away with a 63-53 victory at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham yesterday.
Captain and ace shooter Jhaniele Fowler was in superb form in the circle, sinking 57 goals from her 60 attempts, while goal attack Shanice Beckford scored five of her eight attempts to contribute to the win.
Georgina Fisher, with 21 goals from 24 attempts, led a fairly new England attack line from the start, with Helen Housby's 15 goals from 17 attempts and Eleanor Cardwell with 14 goals from 16 attempts also contributing, though to a losing cause, on this occasion.
Fowler lauded her team for bouncing back from the two disappointing performances, which cost them the series.
“The first two games were challenging. We had a a lot of lows and a lot of turnovers because we didn't take care of the possession how we wanted.
“A lot of things played a part in us not getting the results that we wanted but we are still a work in progress and we are professionals so we were able to bounce back for the game today [yesterday] and come out on top,” she told the Jamaica Observer in a post-game interview.
The large crowd that filled the Motorpoint Arena in anticipation of the Roses sweep was treated to another testy physical encounter as the number four-ranked Sunshine Girls battled for pride against their number three-ranked opponents.
As a result, the Jamaicans' start was much more spirited on this occasion, particularly in mid-court as they efficiently executed their lob passes to Fowler who demonstrated why she is rated one of, if not the best goal shooter in the world.
On the defensive end, the explosive Shamera Sterling and Kadie-Ann Dehaney effected a number of turnovers by the Roses which saw the Sunshine Girls holding a three-goal lead at 14-11 at the end of the first quarter.
Though England's Coach Jess Thirlby reverted to her more experienced attacking combination of Housby and Jo Harten, which briefly saw them levelling the scores at 16-16, Connie Francis's Sunshine Girls were determined not to let things slip through their grasp as was the case in the first two games.
Riding the wave of momentum stirred by the defenders, who limited the potent Roses attack, the Sunshine Girls soon raced to an eight-goal lead, 32-24, at the half-time break.
Things largely remained the same for the third quarter, which was a slight win for the Roses who fought back to match the Sunshine Girls' 16 goals scored in the 15 minutes to reduce what was once a 12-goal lead back to an eight-goal deficit.
However, the Jamaicans' flow continued in the final quarter as they held their nerve well to capitalise on every turnover, denying the Roses every chance at a rally.
The win was the Sunshine Girls' first over England since the four-team Nations Cup last year.