Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Sunshine Girls' head coach notes significance of England Tests to world ranking
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls head coach, Oberon Pitterson-Nattie, has vowed that they will do all they can to register a series victory over arch-rivals England in their three-Test series, which begins with the first Test on Friday in England.
"It is a series that we need to win and we need to win it at any cost," said Pitterson-Nattie during a press conference at the team's 'Sunshine Chateau', 17 Widcombe Road, Barbican, prior to their departure yesterday.
"I know that it is going to be tough out there, and they expect it and they know what is at stake, and we're really looking forward to the challenge," she said.
The second match in the series will be played on 24th, and final game will be played two days later.
The Jamaicans are ranked third in the world with a rating of 151, two points above the English, who are ranked fourth.
A series victory for the Sunshine Girls will see them extending their advantage over their opponents.
In the last three-Test series against England, the Sunshine Girls defeated their opponents 2-1 on home turf in 2011.
However, when both teams met at the World Netball Championships (WNC) in Singapore last year, England recorded a 70-49 victory over the Sunshine Girls to claim the bronze.
Prior to winning the AFNA Championships (regional) in August, the Sunshine Girls recorded a 2-1 series victory over South Africa.
"We gained the third position after playing in the AFNA Championships and that means we didn't play England and, of course, England are very worked up about getting back their third-place position," Pitterson-Nattie said.
"They are one of our main rivals and so it is always good, strong competition and the atmosphere is very fierce, and so we just have to keep our focus," she said.
She pointed out that they have worked very hard in their preparations for the series, especially in the defensive and mid-court areas.
"Most of players are accustomed to the atmosphere over there, and so it's a matter of getting the new players in and to begin to focus and be ready because at the end of the day, it's how well you perform on the day," Pitterson-Nattie reasoned.
"Coming back from the AFNA Championships a month ago we really cued in on what we needed to do and different areas that we needed to work on and we have seen the improvements. We had our camp and we have seen a lot of improvements each day," she continued.
Towering goal shooter Romelda Aiken, who last represented Jamaica at the 2011 WNC, has returned to the team and Pitterson-Nattie says her addition is a major boost for the team in their quest to maintain their third-place world ranking.
"She adds depth to the team and we have options where if it doesn't work for one, hopefully it will work for the other. Romelda and Jhaniele (Fowler) bring two different kinds of game into the circle and hopefully this will ruffle England a lot," Pitterson-Nattie remarked.
SQUAD: Nadine Bryan, Romelda Aiken, Ann-Kay Griffiths, Malsha Kelly, Jhaniele Fowler, Sasha-Gay Lynch, Patricia McCalla, Shantal Slater, Sabrina Spence, Kimone Tulloch, Vanessa Walker, Vangelee Williams.