Sunshine Girls trounce T&T netballers 71-22 in series openerSunday, October 17, 2021
BY SHERDON COWAN
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls kicked off their three-match Sunshine Series with a convincing 71-22 victory over the visiting Trinidad and Tobago's Calypso Girls inside the National Indoor Sports Centre last evening.
The series, being played in honour of former Netball Jamaica President Margaret Beckford, marked the Sunshine Girls' return to competitive action since their Nations Cup appearance last January, and they did not disappoint.
Though outclassing their opponents, who struggled for consistency throughout, the Sunshine Girls were guilty of a few sloppy plays and casual attempts at goal at times, which robbed them of winning by an even wider margin.
Captain and ace goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler led from the front with 43 from 49 attempts, with support coming from goal attacks Shanice Beckford, who scored 13 of her 20 attempts and Rebekah Robinson, seven goals from 12. Gezelle Allison, who replaced Fowler in the fourth quarter, scored eight of her 15 attempts.
Afeisha Noel, with 13 goals from 18 attempts, was the best Calypso Girl in the shooting circle, with Captain Kalifa McCollin sinking a perfect six from six, before limping off in the third quarter with what seemed a hamstring injury.
Jameela McCarthy, who recently landed a contract in England's Superleague, scored two of her four attempts, while Afiya Vincent had one from three.
It was a pacey start by the Sunshine Girls inside the venue — mostly empty due to novel coronavirus-related restrictions. The hosts forced a few turnovers in the early exchanges, which resulted in Fowler sinking three quick goals inside two minutes to grab the ascendancy.
The Calypso Girls gradually settled into their own and found a few goals to ensure they kept pace with the hosts.
However, the bullish attitude and quality of Adean Thomas at centre and goalkeeper Shemera Sterling for the Sunshine Girls limited the Trinidadians opportunities with some crucial interceptions at that point.
This allowed Fowler and goal attack Robinson to score freely at the other end, as the Jamaicans opened up a 19-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The one-way traffic continued in the second quarter with the Jamaicans adding another 17 to their tally thanks in part to the Calypso Girls's numerous unforced errors and lack of accuracy in the shooting circle. The visitors could only muster a mere nine goals to trail by 20 goals (36-16) at the halfway point.
The introduction of Beckford at goal attack and Nicole Dixon-Rochester in centre court added more life to the Sunshine Girls game, as they picked up where they left off, outscoring the opponents 6-0 in the opening five minutes of the third quarter. At the end of it, the Jamaicans extended their lead to 56-19 and from there it became a mere formality.
When the teams returned to the court for the final quarter the only question to be answered was how wide the margin would be, with Allison, who took some time to settle, eventually finding her range to join Beckford in putting the final touches on the performance.