Photo: Sunshine Girls defender Stacian Facey (file photo)
Jamaica is on a mission in Australia at the Netball World Cup. That is to win gold. Called “Gold Rush Down Under” the mission is to break the strangle hold of the top two, hosts Australia and their near neighbours New Zealand, over the top spot in netball.
The opening game against Samoa showed just how serious the Sunshine Girls are as they crushed their opponents 90-44 in the first game of Pool B on Thursday night local time, to record the highest team score and the largest margin of victory on Day 1.
It was a fitting present to the Caribbean island that celebrated 53 years of independence from England on the same day.
Fourth ranked Jamaica began the game with Queensland Firebirds star Romela Aiken (29 goals) at goal shoot and the rookie Shanice Beckford at goal attack. The two combined well to give Jamaica a first quarter lead of 25-9. The swarming defence of Nicole Aiken-Pinnock and Stacian Facey limited the touches on offence for Julianna Naoup.
Samoa did better, both in defence and in attack, in the second quarter, limiting Jamaica to just 20 goals while scoring 15 themselves as the half time score read Jamaica 45 – 24 Samoa. The introduction of Jhaniele Fowler-Reid (39/45) in the third quarter took the game completely away from the Pacific Islanders. Jamaica sank a total of 27 goals while again limiting their opponents to just 9 as they surged to a 72-33 lead at the end of three quarters.
With such a massive lead, Jamaica coach Minneth Reynolds took the opportunity to give all her players time on the court. Not surprisingly, the scoring rate fell off, with Jamaica having their lowest scoring quarter of just 18, in the game, while Samoa got 11.
Jamaica will next play third ranked England in a key match in Pool B on Saturday.
Results from other games played on the opening day are: Australia 73-32 Trinidad and Tobago, New, Zealand 73-28 Barbados, Malawi 58-51 South Africa and Wales 59-52 Fiji.