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Commonwealth Games

Emancipation 100 but …

Francis still cautious despite Sunshine Girls’ powerful statement

Published:Tuesday | August 2, 2022 | 12:07 AMKeith McGhie/Contributor
Jamaica’s Adean Thomas (centre) takes control of the ball during a Netball Pool A match against Barbados at the Commonwealth Games at The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England yeterday.
Jamaica’s Adean Thomas (centre) takes control of the ball during a Netball Pool A match against Barbados at the Commonwealth Games at The National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England yeterday.
Jamaica’s coach Connie Francis speaks to reporters after her Sunshine Girls 103-24 win over the Barbados Gems in Pool A action at the Commonwealth Games inside the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England yesterday.
Jamaica’s coach Connie Francis speaks to reporters after her Sunshine Girls 103-24 win over the Barbados Gems in Pool A action at the Commonwealth Games inside the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England yesterday.
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THERE HAVE been countless big shows at the National Exhibition Centre but not so many greater than the record ‘ton-up’ performance of the Sunshine Girls en route to a 103-24 demolition of a plucky-but-outclassed Barbados.

The relentless stream of goals eclipsed the 100 scored against India at the Delhi Commonwealth Games in 2010, and coach Connie Francis said it was a marvellous way to celebrate Emancipation Day in Jamaica.

Yet despite being delighted, Francis still calmly cast a critical eye over the latest display from the side ranked fourth in the world but looking increasingly likely to muscle in on the medals again.

Having witnessed them win bronze in 2014 and 2018, the Sunshine Girls coach reflected:

“It has (still) been a journey of ups and downs.

“It still wasn’t flawless, although we won by a lot.

“I’ve admired the effort in our attack, but we must not keep giving away turnovers in our attack, and it is important for our defence to remain clean because that will keep the umpires off of our backs.

“It is still a work in progress, and we know that against a tougher opponent, these things will cost us dearly.”

Australia claimed a 95-18 win over Barbados last Friday, but Francis insisted that her side was not intent on making a statement to the tournament favourites.

“I’ve played on teams that have scored 100 before, but this side certainly hasn’t done it in the three years I’ve been here.

“I’ve no preference of who we play in the semi-finals, but it is good for the attack to know they can hit a target they set out to accomplish.”

Despite the landslide victory, Australia still lead Pool A on goal difference, while it is equally close in Pool B where hosts England are edging also-unbeaten New Zealand into second place.

The Sunshine girls continue their bid for glory against Scotland today at 8:00 a.m., Jamaican time, leading up to the potential Pool decider against Australia on Thursday at 3:00 a.m.