Sat | Dec 9, 2023

Sunshine Girls dominance no surprise – coach

Published:Sunday | July 31, 2022 | 12:15 AMRobert Bailey - Sunday Gleaner Writer

South Africa’s Bongwie Msomi fights for the ball with Sunshine Girls’ Latanya Amoy Wilson, during a Netball Pool A match on day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on Saturday.
South Africa’s Bongwie Msomi fights for the ball with Sunshine Girls’ Latanya Amoy Wilson, during a Netball Pool A match on day two of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on Saturday.

NATIONAL SENIOR netball head coach Connie Francis was not one of those surprised by the dominance on display when the Sunshine Girls played against South Africa in the second game of the Commonwealth Games first round yesterday.

The Sunshine Girls, who won the bronze medal in the tournament four years ago, outclassed the South Africans in all departments to record an easy 68-49 victory in Pool A yesterday.

The victory was sweet revenge for the Jamaicans, who lost to South Africa at the 2019 Netball World Cup in Liverpool, England.

Francis told The Sunday Gleaner the Sunshine Girls were taking every game at the tournament very seriously in a push to ensure they are in the final.

“I am not surprised by our huge victory because these girls are on a mission and they wanted to make a statement,” said Francis.

“It was important for the team to come from the start of the whistle and to ensure that we capitalise and score our centre passes and I thought that we really went at them. It was really a team effort,” she said.

The Sunshine Girls dominated the match from the opening whistle, leading 37-19 at half-time and 54-31 at the end of the third quarter.

Perfect 33 goals

Jhaniele Fowler led the way for the Sunshine Girls with a perfect 33 goals from 33 attempts.

Fowler received support from Shanice Beckford, who shot 15 goals from 18 attempts, Shimona Nelson 14 from 14 and Rebekah Robinson six from six.

Ine Mari Venter was the leading scorer for South Africa with 30 goals from 36 attempts.

The victory was the Sunshine Girls second straight win of the tournament and Francis said the team has improved since their opener against Wales on Friday.

“Our defending team was very solid as usual and our midcourt players got into the thick of things and our shooters shot the ball really well,” she said.

“I am loving what I am seeing from the girls because we played our first games on Friday and I thought that we were shaky. We were not as fluent as I would have liked, but against the South Africans, I thought that we built on some of the areas that we needed to build on,” Francis said.

In swimming, Mackenzie Headley produced a good performance to secure her place in the quarter-finals of the women’s 50m butterfly. Headley advanced to the next round of the event after finishing seventh in heat eight in 25.95 seconds.

Failed to advance

However, her teammate Kelsey Leigh Campbell, who also competed in heat eight, failed to advance after finishing last in 27.03. The race was won by Shayna Jack from Australia in 24.31.

Zaneta Alvaranga failed to make progress from the women’s 50m freestyle event after she was seventh in heat nine in 26.49. The race was won by Australia’s Emma McKeon in 24.52.

Kito Campbell also failed to advance to the next round of the men’s 100m breaststroke, despite finishing second in heat two in one minute, 5.04 seconds. Campbell’s time was 26th overall in the competition.

Jamaica’s badminton team secured its first victory after defeating Zambia 4-1. Tahlia Richardson secured the Jamaicans’ first victory on the day when she defeated Elizabeth Chipeleme 21-6, 21-13 in their singles match.

Samuel Ricketts picked up Jamaica’s second win when he beat Kalombo Mulenga 21-15, 21-16 in the men’s singles encounter.

While Jamaica’s third win was secured in the men’s doubles match with Joel Angus and Ricketts turning back the challenge of Chongo Mulenga and Kalombo Mulenga 21-17, 21-19.

The women’s doubles team of Richardson and Katherine Wynter produced an excellent display on their way to beating Chipeleme and Ogar Siamupangila 21-12, 21-9.

Jamaica’s men’s pairs play Lawn Bowls team of Jarrad Breen and Mervyn Delano Edwards was outclassed 33-8 by Wales in its opening match.

The Jamaicans, who find themselves in section A in round three, are participating in the event for the first time at the Commonwealth Games.

They will oppose Northern Ireland in their next game today.

Sky Simons–Lea Norris finished sixth in the final of the Women’s 55kg competition. The event was won by Nigeria’s Adijat Olarinoye.

Christopher Binnie is also through to the squash round of 16 after his opponent, India’s Ramit Tandon, failed to show for their round-of-32 clash.