It’s always a bruising encounter between England and Jamaica when they meet on court and this time the Sunshine Girls made sure they played the game to their plan. The round-robin meeting at the CSE World Netball Series in Liverpool was the first time the two sides have met since the Commonwealth Games Bronze medal match. Expectant England fans were keen for a repeat but were left disappointed. From the whistle Jamaica imposed their will on the match by the end of the quarter they led 7-4 with England unable to haul themselves back on terms before the whistle.
A similar story unfolded in the second 6 minutes of play where the England shooters were finding it tricky to net the ball. At the other the towering Jhanielle Fowler was having little trouble, plonking herself in position under the post and resisting any persuasion to surrender her advantage. Rachel Dunn rolled on as a substitute but didn’t get to see as much ball as she wanted, it just didn’t make its way into the D that often. Her double-pointer attempt bounced out just before the whistle although the rebound was safely banked. Half-time England 7 Jamaica 12.
PowerPlay for both teams in the 3rd quarter. This can cancel out any damage inflicted by one side but can prove very punishing for missed opportunities. An early turnover by Sonia Mkoloma stopped Jamaica from taking a shot at extending their lead right away. The goal exchanges continued with the players bouncing off each other, up and down the court. The gap remained at five points. Simone Forbes had another influential and accurate outing for her side as England struggled to force their will on proceedings and reel in the tally. As was the story of the session Jo Harten’s last gasp four-point attempt bounced out, fortunately rebounding to Pamela Cookey who netted to make it 17-22 with 6 minutes to play.
In the final quarter a vocal Sonia Mkoloma was on a mission to halt the Jamaican attack but had no luck with the umpires in her negotiations for space within the circle. When England were seven points down, shooters Brownfield and Harten started deliberately taking their shots from the “wrong” side of the D in a bid to double up on points but the goals didn’t come and win went to the Sunshine Girls. The 27-20 win securing a bit of revenge for that heavy defeat in Dehli. There was plenty of plain speaking in the England camp after the game with the team determined to do better in the last game of the afternoon session.
England starting 7: GS Louisa Brownfield, GA Pamela Cookey, WA Tamsin Greenway, C Karen Atkinson (captain), WD Stacey Francis, GD Eboni Beckford-Chambers, GK Sonia Mkoloma
Bench:, Jo Harten, Rachel Dunn, Sasha Corbin, Serena Guthrie, Lindsay Keable.
Umpires: Bobbi Brown(NZ) Annie Kloppers (SA) and 3rd official Theresa Prince (SA)
Also in the morning session a close encounter with Australia saw Jamaica prevail which leaves them unbeaten and top of the table. Malawi banked their first points with a satisfying win over “local” rivals South Africa.
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day