Sunshine Girls make blistering start to World Cup, crush Fiji 85-29

Senior staff reporter

Saturday, July 13, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — Jamaica's Sunshine Girls yesterday got their 2019 Netball World Cup campaign off to a dominant start, thrashing Fiji 85-29 on Court One at M&S Bank Arena.

Jamaica's star goalshooter Jhaniele Fowler hit 33 goals from 35 attempts to lead all scorers.

Veteran shooter Romelda Aiken, given the start ahead of team captain Fowler, shook off some rust after recently returning from injury to knock down 26 from 36 for the world number two-rated Sunshine Girls.

For the number 17-ranked Fiji team, Lydia Panapasa scored nine goals from 12 attempts, while Unaisi Rauluni was eight from 10.

Jamaica laid the foundation for their lopsided victory with a 19-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter. They led 40-14 at half time and were up 67-18 to start the fourth quarter.

Jamaica's head coach Marvette Anderson said there were kinks to be ironed out despite the emphatic score line.

“We are going to work on what didn't go so well and continue to do what worked well. I think our turnovers were too many and I think we can work on that aspect,” she said during the mixed zone after the match.

When they were well out of sight in the fourth quarter, Jamaica deployed Fowler and Aiken — both measured at six-foot five inches tall — in tandem instead of using either goal shooter alongside a traditional goal attack.

Jamaica outscored Fiji 18-11 throughout those 15 minutes, but it was the closest quarter of the game.

Anderson conceded the twin tower tactic is a work in progress.

“It makes no sense putting a combination that we don't believe in. I believe in it. We need time — today was the first get to put it on court competitively and I'm happy with what I saw,” she told journalists.

Vicki Wilson, the Fiji head coach, said her team was a physical disadvantage against the marauding Jamaicans.

“We always knew that it would be extremely difficult because Jamaica are a powerhouse in netball. We didn't have the size nor the speed to compete, so I was pleased with our finish and there were [positive] glimpses throughout. But you've got to be consistent with what you do, and that's where Jamaica were far superior,” she told the Jamaica Observer during the mixed zone.

The bubbly Sunshine Girls began with a 3-0 burst, and though Fiji showed flashes of early resistance when they pulled within a goal at 3-4, the gap in quality between the teams became more apparent toward the back end of the quarter.

The onslaught continued in the second and third quarters as Fiji were shredded to bits.

Jamaica's play got marginally untidy at both ends of the court late in the game, but even then their superiority was clear as they romped over the line.


Jamaica — Romelda Aiken, Shanice Beckford, Khadijah Williams, Adean Thomas, Jodiann Ward, Vangelee Williams, Shamera Sterling.

Subs: Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Nicole Dixon, Stacian Facey, Jhaniele Fowler, Rebekah Robinson

Fiji — Matila Vocea, Unaisi Rauluni, Kaitlyn Fisher, Aliti Toribau, Alisi Galo, Kelera Nawai, Episake Kahatoka

Subs: Adi Vakaoca Bolakoro, Ema Mualuvu, Lydia Panapasa, Asilika Sevutia, Laisani Waqa

Yesterday's results

New Zealand 64, Malawi 45

Barbados 69, Singapore 34

Australia 88, Northern Ireland 24

Zimbabwe 79, Sri Lanka 49

Jamaica 85, Fiji 29

South Africa 76, Trinidad and Tobago 45

England 64, Uganda 32

Scotland 53, Samoa 35

Today's games

First session

Australia vs Zimbabwe

Northern Ireland vs Sri Lanka

New Zealand vs Barbados

Malawi vs Singapore

Second session

England vs Scotland

Uganda vs Samoa

Jamaica vs Trinidad and Tobago

South Africa vs Fiji

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