Sunshine Girls stay positive despite missing key players
Shamera Sterling will miss the three-Test Vitality Netball International Series next month. (Photo: Observer file)

Despite the absence of a number of key players from the Sunshine Girls 14-member squad to face England in their highly anticipated three-Test Vitality Netball International Series next month, president of Netball Jamaica Tricia Robinson says she is still quite optimistic that the Jamaicans can win all three games.

The Sunshine Girls will enter the series without top defenders Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson, plus centre Adean Thomas, who all played a very vital role in helping the country to secure the historic silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, England, in August.

The Jamaican will be led in the series by ace goal shooter and Captain Jhaniele Fowler, along with Vice-Captain Shanice Beckford, Shimona Nelson, Rebekah Robinson, Khadijah WIlliams, Nicole Dixon-Rocherster, Jodi-Ann Ward, and Kadie-Ann Dehaney, who all participated at this year's Commonwealth Games.

The squad also sees the return of veteran defender Malysha Kelly. The other members of Jamaica's team are Tafiya Hunter, Crystal Plummer, Abigale Sutherland, Theresa Beckford, and Roxonna McLean.

However, Robinson told Jamaica Observer that the national squad has a lot of depth, and as result, she is expecting a solid showing in the series.

"This shows the depth of the national programme because we have some young ladies that have shown potential and they have done really well in the Americas Championships recently, and so I expect them to give a good account of themselves," said Robinson.

"Everytime that the girls step out on the courts they are expected to give a hundred and 10 per cent and we are expecting nothing less come January," added the netball boss.

Robinson admits, however, that the climatic conditions in England at that time will present a challenge.

"We will be playing in the cold and so it is going to be challenging, but the girls will definitely be up for it, and we are expecting them to do well in all three matches in the series," she stated.

Game one in the series is scheduled for Wednesday, January 11 at the AO Arena in Manchester, with the second match set for three days later at the Copperbox Arena in London. The final game in the series is set for the same venue on January 15.

The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked third in the world — one place above England — will be competing in their last international series before their participation in the Netball World Cup (NWC), which will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from July 28 to August 6, 2023.

Robinson stated that the series forms a very important part of preparation for the World Cup.

"Every series that we play is a challenge and we walk away with lessons learnt, but girls are prepared and they are ready to go out there and give of their best," she said.

"This series is also very important for us because it will be our last international series before the World Cup, and so we just want to go out there and win all three matches," Robinson concluded.

BY ROBERT BAILEY Staff reporter

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