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Robinson confident Sunshine Girls can stop England Roses

BY SANJAY MYERS
Senior staff reporter
myerss@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

JAMAICA'S netballer Rebekah Robinson believes the Sunshine Girls will give as good as they get if their planned four-match series against hosts England goes ahead next month.

“I think we'll give England a run for their money,” the goal attack, who was named in the squad to England, told the Jamaica Observer in a telephone interview.

“It won't be an easy tournament; they're coming hard for us. England Roses are always coming at Jamaica, but we are no walkover,” Robinson, in the United Kingdom (UK) to fulfil an elite netball stint with Celtic Dragons, said.

The matches between England and Jamaica are scheduled for January 22, 24, 26 and 28.

The staging of the tour is subject to the lifting of travel restrictions to the UK and approval from the host country's health authorities against the backdrop of a surge in novel coronavirus cases there.

The Jamaican Government recently declared a two-week travel ban to the UK. The ban is set to end January 4, mere days before the bulk of the Jamaican netball contingent is scheduled to depart.

Jamaica, rated fourth in the world, have been inactive since a four-nation tournament in England last January. The third-ranked Roses were in action recently, defeated 0-3 by world champions New Zealand in a series contested between late October and early November.

England beat the Sunshine Girls when the teams met during last year's Netball World Cup in Liverpool. But Jamaica returned the favour during the quad series en route to losing to New Zealand in the final.

“We did beat them, so of course, they are going to come prepared and bring stronger competition against us,” Robinson, who turns 26 next month, said.

“They [England] have been training longer than us and they are freshly coming off a New Zealand tour. They've had more time to mesh and play together and all of that, but we have been working hard and I know we are going to do very well,” she told the Observer.

Robinson, a member of Jamaica's 2019 World Cup squad, noted that before her departure to England earlier this month, the Sunshine Girls' progress has been positive under head coach and former senior team star Connie Francis.

“It was very intense training…we were fit, but we weren't court fit. But we've come a far way from where we were before. We had to get that physicality, we had to push hard to get that court fitness, and I think we have improved immensely, and we can just keep getting better from here,” she said.

Squads: Jamaica — Jhaniele Fowler, Gezelle Allison, Shanice Beckford, Rebekah Robinson, Adean Thomas, Nicole Dixon, Shadian Hemmings, Jodi-Ann Ward, Khadijah Williams, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Stacian Facey, Shannika Johnson, Malysha Kelly, Shamera Sterling, Latanya Wilson.

England — Imogen Allison, Summer Altmann, Eleanor Cardwell, Jade Clarke, Beth Cobden, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, George Fisher, Layla Guscoth, Serena Guthrie, Natalie Haythornthwaite, Helen Housby, Laura Malcolm, Vicki Oyesola, Razia Quashie, Fran Williams.