Sun | Oct 2, 2022

Sunshine Girls open plea for New Zealand tour

Published:Thursday | August 18, 2022 | 12:13 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Jodi-Ann Ward (left) recovers a ball during the netball semi-final match against New Zealand on day nine of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on August 06, 2022 in the Birmingham, England.
Jamaica’s Jodi-Ann Ward (left) recovers a ball during the netball semi-final match against New Zealand on day nine of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena on August 06, 2022 in the Birmingham, England.

STILL HIGH from the experience of landing a Commonwealth Games silver medal for the first time in history, the Sunshine Girls have been brought back to earth with the harsh reminder of what it takes to remain competitive with the best in the world.

Simone Forbes, vice-president of Netball Jamaica (NJ), said the association is now hurriedly trying to source $7.4 million to send the Sunshine Girls to a three-Test away series against New Zealand next month.

According to Forbes, the series is crucial to the team’s continued preparation for next year’s Netball World Cup in South Africa.

“We need this money to go to New Zealand, and I know that the Government always supports us and I am sure that they are going to support us for this series that we have coming up,” said Forbes.

“However, that is not enough because we do need more support, and we are appealing to corporate Jamaica to come on board and support us as this is a very important international series for the Sunshine Girls,” she said.

Both teams will be battling for the legendary Taini Jamison Trophy from September 17-21.

The first match in the series is set for the Globox Arena in Hamilton on the 17th while the second will be played at the same venue a day later.

FINAL MATCH

The final match in the series will be played at the Eventfinda Stadium in Auckland on September 21.

The teams met outside of a major international competition back in 2020. Then, the Silver Ferns defeated the Sunshine Girls to win the Vitality Netball Nations Cup in England.

However, the Sunshine Girls have been making strides since then, beating New Zealand in the Cadbury Netball Series in New Zealand, becoming the first country to beat the Silver Ferns for the trophy since its inception in 2008.

On their way to a now-famous silver medal at the Commonwealth Games, the Sunshine Girls, who are ranked third in the world, also defeated New Zealand in the semi-finals in Birmingham, England, two weeks ago.

New Zealand went on to claim the bronze medal after a play-off victory over England.

Forbes pointed out that the Sunshine Girls have been receiving support over the past couple of weeks, but there are still gaps.

We have been getting some support, and we really do appreciate it from the league sponsors, who came on in addition to those who were on before we left for the Commonwealth Games, but we still do need a lot more,” she said.

“This series is very important for more than just the rankings because the World Championships is next year, and all the top five countries are playing against each other so that the coaches can make their assessments and analysis and work on what they need to work on for this massive championships.”

robert.bailey@gleanerjm.com