... J'can netballers look to continue success against England rivals
Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
The National Indoor Sports Centre will be buzzing with excitement today when Jamaica's Sunshine Girls and rivals England Rose once again draw battle lines in the opening match of their three-Test Sunshine Series.
The match is set to start at 5 p.m.
The Sunshine Girls will be hoping to build on their momentum after defeating the English girls for the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games last August.
They will be boosted by the inclusion of top shooter Jhaniele Fowler, who missed last year's Fast5 Championships because of personal reasons, and the vastly experienced Paula Thompson, who was rested for the tournament in Auckland, New Zealand.
The English will also welcome back their experienced goal attack Pamela Cookey, who missed the Commonwealth Games because of injury.
Sunshine Girls coach Minneth Reynolds said the girls have done the hard work in training and she is expecting them to deliver against the Brits.
"We are confident that we can win," said Reynolds. "This is a series that we need to win, because if we don't do that, then persons are going to lose faith in us."
"We have to be on the attack from the start, because it is very important to start out with a good momentum."
Continuing, Reynolds said: "The girls are aware of what is at stake and so they are committed to go out there and win the series for us."
The series will be Jamaica's only warm-up against a country ranked higher than them, heading into this year's World Championship in Australia. The Sunshine Girls are ranked fourth in the world, one place below their English counterparts.
"This series is very important to us because we are playing one of the best teams in the world, and it is also important that we put on a good showing in front of our home crowd," Reynolds said.
Reynolds pleased with squad
The Sunshine Girls team also includes the likes of Khadijah Williams, Sasher-Gaye Henry, Adean Thomas, and Nicole Dixon, captain Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, Vangelee Williams and Stacian Facey Romelda Aiken, Shanice Beckford, Ann-Kay Griffiths, Thristina Harwood and Shantal Slater.
"I am quite pleased with this squad, because all the ladies are capable of representing us quite well on court. It is a strong squad that will face the England team," Reynolds noted.
On the other hand, England's coach Anna said the team has had a good preparation entering the series and she is confident they will put up a good showing against the Sunshine Girls.
"We are really looking forward to the series against the Sunshine Girls," said Mayes. "It is always a hotly contested rivalry between us."
"We need to right some wrongs coming from the Commonwealth Games, so we are going to make it tough for the Jamaicans," she added.