Sun | Aug 14, 2022

Sunshine Girls turn to gold-medal push after Australia win

Published:Friday | August 5, 2022 | 12:09 AMRobert Bailey/Gleaner Writer
Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler controls the ball during a Netball Pool A match against Australia on day seven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena in Birmingham, England yesterday.
Jamaica’s Jhaniele Fowler controls the ball during a Netball Pool A match against Australia on day seven of the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games at NEC Arena in Birmingham, England yesterday.

HAVING RECORDED their first-ever victory over Australia at the Commonwealth Games, national senior netball coach Connie Francis said she is backing the Sunshine Girls to win the gold medal in Birmingham, England.

The Jamaicans, who won the bronze medal at the championships four years ago in Gold Coast, Australia, produced a gutsy performance to record a close 57-55 victory over the Aussies yesterday.

The victory was the first for the Sunshine Girls over Australia since 2011 when the Jamaicans defeated their opponents in a test match at the National Indoor Sports Complex. In fact, the Sunshine Girls have never beaten the Australians in a major championship.

“I am very happy for the players because, trust me, they deserved it,” said Francis.

“You can see it in their whole mannerism that this is our season to shine and to improve our netball, and they really showed it on the court against the Australians,” she said.

“They are aiming for the final and that is the goal from we came here, because we think that, within this group, we have the experience that can take us into the final and then we will just battle it out for that gold medal,” said Francis.

“I am certainly backing them to reach the final because we have a really strong team to do it.”

Francis is proud of, not just the performance yesterday, but also the attitude of the team and their willingness to support each other.

“They supported each other out there. We made some early turnovers but those were adjusted as the game went by,” she said.

“I am very proud of all the attacking players and, defensively, our defenders stood up because it was a tough game and it was a battle,” Francis said.

“I am very happy that we were able to withstand the battle and come away with the victory. The Girls are saying that this is our 60th year of Independence and they want to do it for the country by bringing back home the gold.”