Kelly, Harwood miss cut for Netball World Cup
There were no places for experienced defender Malysha Kelly and talented shooter Thristina Harwood in the Sunshine Girls squad of 12 which was named yesterday to represent Jamaica at the Netball World Cup in Australia in August.
Kelly, a former captain, has been plagued by a persistent knee injury she aggravated in the Berger Elite League earlier this year. That injury has kept her sidelined during most of the team's preparation.
Harwood, the 2013 FastNet MVP and a student of the University of the West Indies (UWI), has been taking summer classes and has not been able to stay in camp or bring her fitness up to the level of the other players
"These two are not up to the standard of the others. Malysha has been dealing with ongoing knee issues, and she hasn't been able to bring up her performance. It has been very hard for her because of her limited mobility with her ongoing injuries. But she has to be able to play day after day, and she wasn't able to do that in the Barbados series," Jill McIntosh pointed out.
She also added that the coaching staff has similar concerns about Harwood, who has not been able to train as consistently as the other players due to school commitments.
"Thristina's fitness has not been where it should be, and it's the same concern (we have) that she would not be able to last day after day," the former Australian coach, McIntosh declared.
Meanwhile, there was a first-time call up for St Hugh's High schoolgirl and recent Berger Elite League MVP, Kadie-Ann Dehaney.
"She is good enough to be included; she has done everything right and has really done well," McIntosh insisted.
The other members of the squad are Nicole Aiken-Pinnock (captain), Paula Thompson (vice-captain), Romelda Aiken, Shanice Beckford, Nicole Dixon, Stacian Facey, Jhaniele Fowler-Reid, Anna Kay Griffiths, Sasher-Gaye Henry, Khadijah Williams, and Vangelee Williams. Reserves Shantal Slater and Adean Thomas will continue training with the team until its departure.
The final team selection was made on the heels of the three-game friendly series against the Barbados Gems, which the Sunshine Girls swept 3-0.
The girls depart Jamaica on July 30 for a three-day camp in Canberra, Australia, before heading to Sydney. The fourth-ranked Jamaicans are drawn in Pool B, along with third-ranked England, Scotland and Samoa. They will play their opening game against Samoa on Friday, August 7.
McIntosh pointed that the team is a blend of youth and experience, and they are working hard to bring home the gold.
"The ladies have worked extremely hard to this point, and now we have the final 12 with seven weeks to go.
They will step up their training for the next six to seven weeks, and it's just little things that we need to attend to. We will match youth with the experience, and I am sure by the time we get there (Australia), we will be very close," she added.