Robert Bailey, Sunday Gleaner Writer
Standout shooter Shanice Beckford netted a game-high 29 goals from 30 attempts to spark Jamaica to an easy 52-33 victory over arch-rivals England to retain the bronze medal at the World Youth Netball Championships (WYNC) in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday.
The Jamaican girls who also won the bronze medal four years ago in the Cook Islands, started the match confidently and raced to 14-11 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Junior Sunshine Girls increased their lead in the second period as Beckford shot a perfect six goals from six attempts to outscore the English girls 9-7 for a 25-18 lead at half-time.
Jamaica played a much faster game than England, and forced their opponents into many mistakes throughout all areas of the court, especially in the third quarter.
The defensive pair of captain Vangelee Williams and Shamera Sterling were excellent for Jamaica, as they shut down the English shooters by limiting them to a mere five goals in the period as the junior Sunshine Girls raced to a 40-23 lead at the end of the period.
Beckford received solid support from fellow shooter Thristina Harwood, who netted 23 goals from 34 attempts, as the Jamaicans romped to victory in the fourth quarter.
Annette Daley, assistant coach of Jamaica, expressed delight at the girls' performance, a display which saw them outplaying their rivals from start to finish.
"The girls did an excellent job of converting their centre passes and overall they did a good job because they won the bronze medal, and that's what it was about," Daley said.
"We are definitely very happy because after the disappointing loss in the semi-finals, this was the next best and they did their best," she said.
Daley added that the players showed a lot of grit and determination as England "came out to play".
"We do have to give credit to them (England) based on their performance, but our girls stuck to the task and we came out the victors," Daley said.
Meanwhile, the championship title changed hands when New Zealand defeated defending champions Australia 52-47 for the gold medal.