Barbados test for Sunshine Girls
It's a friendly series, but Netball Jamaica's technical director, Jill McIntosh, said the Sunshine Girls will be taking all three Test matches against Barbados very seriously.
The opening match of the series between the Sunshine Girls and Barbados is set to tip off tonight at the National Indoor Sports Centre (NISC) starting at 7 p.m.
The second match in the series will be played tomorrow at the NICS starting at 5 p.m. while the final is set for Sunday at the G.C. Foster College in St Catherine, also at 5 p.m.
McIntosh has declared that the team to this year's Netball World Cup will be selected based on performances in the series and everyone must prove themselves to selectors.
"The aim is to come away with a strong team of 12 players that will represent Jamaica at the World Cup," said the Australian
"It is a good opportunity for international exposure for the players. We have 17 players that will be taking part and, for each and everyone of them. it is an opportunity to show the selectors what they can do under international pressure," McIntosh said.
She added that she is expecting the Barbadians to put up a fight as they, like Jamaica, are the series to help select their team for the Netball World Cup.
"Both teams will be fighting hard for a win," said McIntosh. "I know that Barbados will want to come here to give of their best," she said. "I think it just gives both countries an opportunity under some very good match-play pressure to come away with a final 12 for the Netball World Cup.
Overseas-based player Jhaniele Fowler-Reid is among the Sunshine Girls' 17-member team selected for the series. The squad also includes newcomers Simone Gordon and Kadie-Ann Dehaney, who was voted the Most Valuable Player of the just-concluded Berger Paints Elite League.
Captain Nicole Aiken-Pinnock's younger sister, Romelda, who also plays overseas in the ANZ Championships, is set to join up with the squad later. The Sunshine Girls finished a disappointing fourth in the last NWC which was held in Singapore four years ago.
An upbeat Barbados team - newly named the Barbados Gems - arrived here yesterday for the series.
Coach Anna Shepherd said that her team was here to do its best against the Sunshine Girls, and she expects her Gems to win at least one of the three matches this time.