Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Oberon Pitterson-Nattie, head coach of Jamaica's Sunshine Girls, said her team panicked in the final quarter against arch-rivals England, which led to their 63-51 defeat in opening game of their three-Test netball series at the LG Arena in London, England, yesterday.
The Sunshine Girls, who are ranked third in the world, one place above the English team, began slowly as they trailed 13-11 at the end of the first quarter and 31-26 at half-time.
However, the Sunshine Girls rallied strongly in the third period, as they outscored their opponents 17-12 to tie the game at 43-43 at end of the third quarter.
The English came out very confidently in the final quarter, as they regained the ascendancy and in the process outscored Jamaica 20-8, as they romped home to a comfortable victory.
"Netball is played for one hour, not 45 minutes, and yes, we did some really good work. We played really well up to the third quarter, but we just weren't able to keep our composure and tough it out in the last quarter," said Pitterson-Nattie. "The score doesn't reflect the type of game that we played today."
She added: "We went down 20-8 in the fourth quarter and I felt that we needed to just keep our composure. We made quite a few errors, in terms of passing and being able to get the ball to the shooters, and we panicked a bit and it just went downhill."
Jhaniele Fowler, who had an outstanding shooting performance, topscored for the Jamaicans, netting 20 goals from 21 attempts. Fowler received solid support from fellow shooters Romelda Aiken, who scored 18 goals from 26 tries, and Ann-Kay Griffiths, who added 13 goals from 15 tries.
Jo Harten, 43 goals from 45 attempts, and Pamela Cookey, 20 goals from 23 tries, were the main scorers for England.
The second match in the series will be played on Monday, September 24, and the final game two days later.