Tue | Sep 21, 2021

Sunshine Girls still eye England series

Published:Thursday | March 4, 2021 | 12:13 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Vangelee Williams (left) leaps to catch a pass over England’s Chelsea Pitman in the Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre in October 2018.
Jamaica’s Vangelee Williams (left) leaps to catch a pass over England’s Chelsea Pitman in the Sunshine Series at the National Indoor Sports Centre in October 2018.

With the Sunshine Girls set to begin their preparations for next year’s Commonwealth Games, President of Netball Jamaica (NJ) Tricia Robinson said her association has re-entered negotiations with rivals England over a four-Test series.

The highly anticipated series was originally scheduled for January at the Copperbox Arena in London, but it was postponed because of the Jamaican Government’s travel ban on flights from the United Kingdom.

Robinson told The Gleaner that the series forms a very important part of the team’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games, and that talks have been taking place about a possible showdown late this year.

“We are still in dialogue with the England netball team, looking at the possibilities for competition in November or December of this year,” said Robinson. “It will be good competition for us because, as you know, the team is preparing for the Commonwealth Games next year, and so it will be excellent competition heading into these Games.”

“It is really important that the national team plays highly competitive games heading into the Commonwealth Games in order for us to be in tip-top shape when the Games begin, and this will result in us doing well,” Robinson said.

England are currently ranked third in the world, one place above the Sunshine Girls, and Robinson underscored the importance of the Jamaicans winning the series convincingly in order to improve their rankings.

IMPROVING RANKINGS

“It is also very important for us to play against the teams that are ranked above us, because the more games that we play against these top-ranked teams, the better chance we have to improve our rankings,” said the netball boss.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say we have a score to settle against them, because our team is already confident. I think that every time we step on the court there is an air of confidence about them, and so what we want from the girls is good competition, and England is good competition for us,” Robinson said.

Meanwhile, the Sunshine Girls, who have not played an international match in more than a year, are scheduled to play hosts South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago in a tri-nation series in October.