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Jamaica's netballers need shooting practice, urges TD Jill McIntosh

Published:Tuesday | April 28, 2015 | 12:00 AMRobert Bailey

Technical director of Netball Jamaica (NJ), Jill McIntosh, is urging the country's shooters to practise a lot more in order to become the best in the world. The standard of the shooting in the Berger Paints Elite League has been very poor this season.

The highest percentage, 75.5, is accounted for by former national Under-21 player, Shantal Slater. She has netted 153 goals from 203 attempts in five games for Manchester Spurs.

National player Deneen Taylor from St James Sharpes is second with 146 goals from 204 attempts, for a percentage of 71.6, followed by LaDonna Lamonth of St Catherine Racers, who has netted 164 goals from 233 attempts for a percentage of 71.4.

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Slater netted 33 from 40 attempts in her team's latest game, a 39-37 loss against St Catherine Racers on Friday. Nicole Dixon had four from 12 for the losers. Lamonth led the shooting for Racers, netting 25 of 29 tries, while goal attack and MVP, Anna-Kay Griffiths, scored 14 of 20.

"I certainly would like the percentage to be higher because I would love for the shooters to be in the 80s plus (percentage)," said McIntosh in an interview with The Gleaner yesterday.

"But having said that, one factor you have to remember is that most of these shooters are shooting outside, and most of the other leagues around the world, their shooters are shooting indoors," she reasoned. "They don't have any elements to worry about, and so I think that's a major consideration."

Continuing, the Australia-born McIntosh added: "I think one of the other things you have to consider as well is how well the defenders are playing, and I think they're doing a very good job, and so there are a lot of factors that comes into it.

"However, I certainly would like the shooters to be up in the 80s plus.

"They have to practise, which I know some of them are doing. They have to practise because practice becomes perfect," she underlined.

The Sunshine Girls, who are currently preparing for the Netball World Cup, which will be held in Australia in August, currently have six shooters in the local squad, while Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and Romelda Aiken are playing overseas in the ANZ Championships in Australia and New Zealand.

McIntosh stated that if Fowler-Reid or Aiken were to be ruled out for this year's World Cup, then Jamaica has other shooters who are ready to step in and fill the void.

"We have other shooters in the national squad that are good shooters, and that is why they are there," said McIntosh. "If you put some of these shooters into the leagues around the world, they would be shooting a high percentage as well."

McIntosh noted that the Sunshine Girls are benefitting from the Berger Paints Elite League, as they continue their preparation for World Cup tournament.

"It has given them some very close games because that is what we wanted," she observed.

In two games on Friday, the scores were close. St Ann Orchids defeated Clarendon Gaters 39-38 and St James Sharpes beat Kingston Hummingbirds 23-20. Goal attack and MVP Shanice Beckford (27/32), Kayan Cousins (9/12) and Geselle Allison (3-5) netted the goals for the Orchids, while Kadie-Ann Dehaney (30/35) led the Gaters. Jodi-Ann Kentish (12/22) and Taylor (10/27) led St James, while Thristina Harwood (13/20), Monique Henry (4/6) and Mellisha Josephs 3/20) scored for the Hummingbirds.

"We want the players to fight hard to win games, and I think that's what we are seeing; there have been very even scores," McIntosh noted.