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Byfield expects Sunshine Girls to ‘pull weight’ at 2015 Fast5 World Netball Series

Published:Monday | October 24, 2016 | 10:00 AMLivingston Scott
Members of the Sunshine Girls netball team gather before leaving for Melbourne, Australia, to participate in the Fast5 series set for October 29-30. The team, captained by veteran player Althea Byfield (back row, left), left the island on Saturday.

A 10-member Sunshine Girls team departed the island on Saturday for Melbourne, Australia, where they will compete in the 2016 Fast5 World Netball Series.

Althea Byfield, who is in her first-ever role as captain of a Jamaica netball team, says all the players must play at their best if they are to do well at the championship.

"I never thought that this (captaincy) would have been possible. I can't believe I was selected, but I am overwhelmed to lead this wonderful group of females and I am just excited," Byfield said prior to the team's departure.

"But I have been putting in the hard work and I have gone over and beyond. I have made a lot of sacrifices and I have worked really hard for this tournament and I am really looking forward to it," she said.

"I expect everyone to pull their weight. Everyone has invested their time and they are committed to the task, so it would be a waste of time to go 'down under' and everyone not perform to the best of their ability. So I expect everyone to go out and do their best," she continued.

MULTIPLE MATCHUPS

Jamaica open against South Africa in the two-day tournament this coming Saturday and will also face Australia and Malawi on that same day. The following day, the Sunshine Girls will play another two matches - against New Zealand and England - in their attempt to advance to the play-offs.

The squad includes two newcomers in Gezelle Allison and Trishana Hanson, while veterans Byfield and Kacey Evering have been recalled.

"We have been training for six months and I know the other top-five countries in the world have been doing the same, so I have to be there to analyse and assess each team. I can't say much (on winning title) right now," said Byfield.

"But it's (Fast5) basic netball, the only difference is the speed and level of intensity. You don't have enough time to catch your breath because as the ball scores, it's coming right back," she said.

Jamaica's best finish at a Fast5 tournament was their silver-medal placing in 2009.

SQUAD: Althea Byfield (captain), Anna-Kaye Griffiths, Shantel Slater, Vanessa Walker, Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, Kasey Evering, Vangelee Williams, Nicole Dixon, Gezelle Allison and Trishana Hanson. The team is coached by Connie Francis and she is assisted by Elaine Davis. Also accompanying the team are John Campbell (physio) and Netball Jamaica president Paula Daley-Morris, who is the head of delegation.