Thu | Dec 8, 2016

Defence sharpens for England series

Published:Tuesday | January 6, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Jamaica's goalkeeper Nicole Aiken-Pinnock (centre) catches the ball ahead of England's goal attack, Pamela Cookey, during the opening game of the Supreme Ventures Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre last year. - Ian Allen/Photographer

Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer

The Sunshine Girls' defensive unit is working hard to improve their play and the country's chances of winning the upcoming three-Test series against arch-rivals England, which is set to begin on Saturday, January 10.

The second game will be played a day later and the final match on Tuesday, January 13.

Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, captain of the Sunshine Girls team, told The Gleaner in an interview that she is expecting a stellar performance from her charges in the series.

"Mistakes will be made while you are playing out there, because the game is not written in black and white, and neither is it perfect, and so therefore mistakes will happen," said Aiken-Pinnock. "But we have been working on how to get the ball out of the defensive unit to the attack.

"We have been working on different strategies in defence, and so it is just for us to go out there and execute in each game," she said.

Stacian Facey, Malysha Kelly and Vangalee Williams are the other defenders vying for spots on the Sunshine Girls team.

"We have to put it together in everything that we do and we have to keep the communication lines open. We have to keep motivating each other, because it is not going to be easy against England," said Aiken-Pinnock.

She said the only way for them to record a series victory over the English was to play cohesively.

"We work hard together as a unit and we have to ensure that we stay focused and maintain our discipline throughout each match," she said.

The England series will be Jamaica's only warm-up against a country ranked higher than them heading into next year's World Championship.

The Sunshine Girls are ranked fourth in the world, one place below their English counterparts.

"It is very good that we are playing England before the World tournament," said Aiken-Pinnock. "I wish we were playing them close to the championships, but, nevertheless, playing them now will give us a chance to see where we are right now and what exactly we need to work on."