Romelda Aiken set to miss England series with injury
... But long absence begs questions
NATIONAL SENIOR netball goal shooter, Romelda Aiken, has been ruled out of the Sunshine Girls’ three-Test tour against arch-rivals England later this month through injury.
Simone Forbes, first vice-president of Netball Jamaica (NJ), said the vastly experienced Aiken will be a massive miss for the Sunshine Girls going into the series.
The Gleaner was informed that Aiken, who represented the Queensland Firebirds in this year’s Suncorp Super Netball League in Australia, is nursing an ankle injury. Forbes could not confirm this, but said her input as a leader will be missed.
“She is going to be missed greatly by the team,” said Forbes.
“Romelda is not just a senior player, she is one of the most experienced shooters on the team and she is a very good leader and most of her teammates look up to her,” said the VP.
“Not having her for the tour, and a tour that I know for fact that she was looking forward to donning the black, green and gold, I know is a disappointment for her and I know it is going to be disappointment for the ladies as well – that they won’t have her for this series in England,” Forbes said.
This is not the first series that Aiken has missed for Jamaica in recent years. In fact, she has not played for the Sunshine Girls since the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.
There was an attempt to have Aiken, who is an Australian citizen, represent the country at the Nations Cup in England in 2020. That attempt ended in failure after NJ found it could not afford the quarantine fee of US$3,000 (J$450,000) that was imposed by the Australian Government on its citizens returning from overseas.
NOVEMBER 28 START
The England series is scheduled to get under way on November 28 at the Copper Box Arena in London, with the second and third games scheduled for December 4 and 5 at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.
The Sunshine Girls, ranked fourth in the world, one place below their English counterparts, will head into the series on the back of their 3-0 series win over Caribbean arch-rivals Trinidad and Tobago.
The six-foot-four-inch tall Aiken had a solid, if not prolific season for the Queensland Firebirds in the Suncorp Super Netball League in Australia this year, where she finished fourth on the scoring charts with 531 goals. Her national teammate, Jhaniele Fowler, topped the scoring table with 883 goals.
Aiken’s drop in numbers, however, may be accounted for by the fact that she has ramped up on defensive duties.
In fact, Aiken was the top defensive rebounder in the competition with 87.
In the absence of Aiken, who has played 74 international games for the national team, the Sunshine Girls shooting department will be led by Fowler.