Things seemed to be going perfectly well for Jamaica when they defeated England on Saturday, January 25 in the Netball Vitality Nations Cup semi-finals. That game sent them right through to the finals on the following day, where they pitched up to face off against New Zealand.
Yet, while spirits were riding high going into this contest, Jamaica weren’t quite able to get the job done against the kiwis, coming in a very respectable runner-up position instead.
The New Zealand Silver Ferns were out in force at the Copper Box Arena in London, England, sealing their first-place position with a 67-56 victory. While the Jamaican Sunshine Girls really amped up the pressure during the first stages of the game, it was during the second half that the New Zealanders gained back some huge momentum, managing to outdo their Caribbean opponents.
Even though her team lost, Jamaica’s head coach, Connie Francis heaped the praise on her girls, saying that they actually raised the bar significantly with their performance against the world champions.
“There are plenty of positives from this game”, she said, before commenting on how the Sunshine Girls “left everything on the court”. She noted a few questionable calls that took place in the game, marking out that she herself would have liked to have seen “more consistency”. However, Francis went on to state that she’s exceptionally proud of the Jamaican girls and believes that they’re in a great place to move forward.
Jamaica Outdoes Itself from Preliminary Round
This match was the second time that Jamaica faced off against New Zealand in the four-team tournament. Prior to this, the teams’ first meeting saw the Sunshine Girls lost by a huge 26 points. However, they improved the standard of their play for the final match, which was filled with excitement and thrilling gameplay.
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In the initial stages of the final match between Jamaica and New Zealand, the Sunshine Girls fell behind in a 7-1 outcome, although they managed to pull it back for a 7-7 tie. Both teams traded goals for the remainder of the first quarter, before things finished narrowly at a 16-15 outcome. During the second quarter, Jamaica sped ahead with a 25-23 lead. Yet, it didn’t take long for the kiwis to fire things up again, leaving the contest tied at 30-30 once half time arrived.
It was the third quarter where Jamaica had its worst section of gameplay, trailing 49-41 by the start of the fourth quarter. That deficit wasn’t something that the girls could overcome, but they should feel proud of their play, finishing in second place. England overcame South Africa in their final match to claim the bronze position in the tournament.
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