England lose to Jamaica at Echo

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England v Jamaica netball at the Echo Arena (photo by Alice Kirkland, JMU Journalism)

England fell short of victory after an enthralling encounter with Jamaica which saw their series levelled as international netball returned to Liverpool’s Echo Arena this week.

The away side were comprehensive winners by 49-44, never letting slip the lead they established within 20 seconds when Anna-Kay Griffiths opened the scoring for Jamaica, also known as the Sunshine Girls.

Jamaica continued to keep England on the back foot, quickly racking up a four-point lead. England struck back when captain Pamela Cookey opened her side’s account, but despite scoring the home side never managed to put themselves into a lead.

England were slow starters but luckily Jamaica failed to make their dominance pay with the first quarter ending 12-14.

The second quarter started as the first ended, with the Sunshine Girls straight out of the traps to increase their lead to 12-15 with less than 30 seconds gone.

This prompted an instant comeback from England as it seemed they had found form, impressively passing the ball with pace but Jamaica never budged. With a combination of poor defending and shooting, England failed to contain the travelling side who led 18-19 halfway through the quarter.

Shooting stats

England:

Allison: 15/23 – 65%

Cookey: 10/10 – 100%

Harten: 19/26 – 73%

Jamaica:

Fowler: 32/36 – 89%

Griffiths: 5/12 – 42%

Aiken: 12/16 – 75%

The game slowed after Kimone Tulloch left the court injured. England showed real signs of improvement with their passing but just couldn’t contain the movement of Jamaica’s Goal Attack and Goal Shooter, which left the Sunshine Girls leading 20-25 at the half way stage.

England started the third quarter the brighter of the two sides eventually managing to score through Ama Agbreze, but again unable to contain the away side who replied instantly. Jamaica pressed on to build a lead of nine goals within five minutes of the third quarter.

They dominated the middle of the court moving the ball around and keeping possession. Towards the end of the quarter England launched a counter attack and managed to close the gap to just four points with high tempo pass and move netball, before Jamaica managed to fight back building another big lead ending the penultimate quarter 31-38.

England needed a big final quarter performance if they were to close the six-goal gap that separated them from the Sunshine Girls. The home side set about doing that by moving to only two behind within the first five minutes of the match.

England v Jamaica netball at the Echo Arena (photo by Alice Kirkland, JMU Journalism)

A lapse of concentration saw Jamaica pull back two before England managed to press well through the middle of the court closing the gap to one point with minutes remaining. Jamaica came back with a way only they knew how, scoring seven goals without reply, playing on the counter after being first to every rebound.

England managed to close the gap again but with only seconds remaining the gap was too big, leaving the match to end 44-49 to the away side.

England coach Colette Thomson was not disheartened by her side’s performance. She told JMU Journalism: “I think we played well, there were lots of opportunities, we are not too disappointed.”

Thomson was also confident England would be able to take the series win in Sheffield. She said: “There is no reason why we can’t. I think with the score being 1-1 going into the final game, the series really is all to play for and I am confident with my players.”

About Joe Barnes, JMU Journalism