Fri | Feb 21, 2020

Francis expects Sunshine Girls bounceback

Published:Friday | January 24, 2020 | 12:38 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer

With one spot up for grabs in the final of the Vitality Netball Nations Cup against world champions New Zealand, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls head coach Connie Francis said they are determined to grab this place when they face rivals and hosts England in London tomorrow.

New Zealand, who are unbeaten in the tournament so far, are atop the table with two wins. They are followed by England and Jamaica with one win each, and South Africa who have lost both of their matches.

Low on confidence

The Sunshine Girls will enter tomorrow’s contest low on confidence after they were outclassed 71-45 by New Zealand in Birmingham on Wednesday.

However, Francis told The Gleaner shortly after the team’s arrival in London from Birmingham, that she is anticipating a tough challenge from the English girls, but she is optimistic that they will come out on top. “It will be a tough game because they are one of our main rivals and I think we will be ready. I am confident that these girls will bounce back,” Francis said. “I think that the team knows that we can do much better against England and it is about regrouping because we want to give ourselves an opportunity to go up against New Zealand in the final. In any sport, it’s how you bounce back and I do expect us to bounce back and play extremely well against England.”

She said that the players were deeply hurt by Wednesday’s defeat and therefore they are determined not to make the same mistakes against England.

“It has dampened our spirits because we know that we have let down ourselves,” she said. “We thought that we did not take care of the ball and our spacing was a problem because we were clustered for space by opponents. However, they know that they are more than capable of regrouping and I think that we are regrouping well enough to go up against England on Saturday.

England, who are ranked fourth in the world, one place above the Sunshine Girls, recorded their first victory in the championships with a 58-54 victory over South Africa on Wednesday.