Robert Bailey, Gleaner Writer
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls turned in gusty performances to defeat arch-rivals England 49-44 and level their three-Test series 1-1 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England, yesterday.
The Sunshine Girls were led to victory courtesy of Jhaniele Fowler's game-high 32 goals from 37 attempts. Fowler received solid support from fellow shooters Romelda Aiken, who netted 12 goals from 16 tries and Anna-Kay Griffiths, who added five goals from 13 attempts.
Jo Harten, with 19 goals from 26 attempts, Pamela Cookey, who shot a perfect 10 goals from 10 tries, and Rosie Allison, 15 from 23, were the scorers for England.
The Jamaicans began the match very confidently and led from start to finish. The Sunshine Girls carved out a 14-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. They extended the lead by three goals in the second quarter for a 25-20 advantage at half-time.
The Oberon Pitterson-Nattie coached team dominated the third stanza and in the process outscored the English 13-11 to take a 38-31 lead at the end of the period.
Despite being outscored 13-11 by England in the fourth quarter, the Sunshine Girls held their nerves and composure to secure victory.
"I thought the team's performance was very good today," said Pitterson-Nattie, in a telephone interview with The Gleaner after the match.
"Sometimes it wasn't that smooth as we would have liked, but one of the things that we have been working on is our composure because we had our game plan and so everything fell in place for us," she said.
"When we get the lead it's about ensuring that we score our centre pass, it wasn't easy at times, but I can tell you our defenders were relentless tonight," Pitterson-Nattie said.
Pitterson-Nattie added that her players were devastated with their Game One defeat and were determined to level the series.
"I think that the players knew where they fell short in Game One because they knew they should have won that game and so they really felt that they needed this victory," Pitterson-Nattie said of the Jamaicans, who were tied 43-43 at the end of the third quarter, but fell away badly in the fourth to lose their opening match 63-51.
Jamaica, ranked third in the world, one place above England, will take on their opponents in the deciding game of the series tomorrow.
A series victory for the Sunshine Girls, who hold a two-ratings points lead over England, could see them extending their lead over their opponents in the world rankings.
Looking ahead to Wednesday's final game, Pitterson-Nattie said: "We still need to do some things much better because we still struggled to get that ball into the circle. However, it is our final game of the series and I know we are going to go there to do our best."