Tag: Shanice Beckford

Memorable Matches: Sunshine Girls defeat Silver Ferns – 2018 Comm Games

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is Jamaica’s bronze medal win over New Zealand at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, after missing out on the gold medal match by the slimmest of margins. 

It was a period of rebuilding for New Zealand, and this loss almost felt like the tail on the end of years of frustration for the nation, which had never failed to make a final before, let alone miss out on a medal overall. But for Jamaica, this was the culmination of years of edging closer to the title, and while it was the nation’s third bronze medal it was the first Commonwealth Games win against the Ferns, proving the Sunshine Girls could push any team to its limit on their day.

The two sides battled mercilessly throughout, with neither really able to snatch onto momentum for the full match. There was arguably a scoring end with majority of both teams’ scoreboard impact hitting in alternating quarters, with Jamaica dominating the first and third, drawing out a strong lead on both occasions, while New Zealand fought back during the second and fourth quarters to no avail. With quality shooting targets up opposing ends with the likes of Maria Folau, Jhaniele Fowler and Romelda Aiken finding plenty of the ball, the Jamaicans were a fraction cleaner. Khadijah Williams (20 assists from 31 feeds) zipped around as she does best, with the wing attack using her quick footwork to out-position the likes of Sam Winders and Claire Kersten and open up space for both Shanice Beckford (15 goals, 16 assists) and Adean Thomas. While Ferns goal keeper Temalisi Fakahokotau was more than up for the challenge lining up on Fowler and Aiken respectively, it was her penalty count that got the Ferns in trouble, racking up 24 penalties (18 contacts) in her 49 minutes on court. Katrina Rore’s respective cleanliness could not make up the numbers, with the usually tenacious defender failing to have her usual impact.

It was inaccuracy that plagued the Ferns throughout, unable to be their typical cool, calm and collected selves under the post thanks to the phenomenal defensive effort from the Sunshine girls. While Jamaica’s shooting was not at 100 per cent either, the side was far cleaner with the ball in the attack and more careful with the shot where New Zealand wasted attempts from further out than they wanted. Young gun Shamera Sterling was well up to the task in defence for the Sunshine Girls, and was still really an unknown quantity, able to cherry pick the ball with ease and slow down the Ferns’ speedy frontline. Despite Sterling’s dominance, Folau still managed to rack up 34 goals but ultimately was unable to hold up the attack end on her own as both Bailey Mes and Ameliaranne Ekenasio failed to make a real threatening impact on the match, both sitting in the 60s for goal accuracy. Grace Kara was electric around the circle, and while she only assisted 24 goals from her 40 feeds into the circle, she provided a consistent effort on the edge to keep Jodi-Ann Ward busy and cause some confusion for defenders. Meanwhile Vangelee Williams started out in wing defence but rotated back to goal defence after the first, adding another element to the defensive circle and certainly a more robust defender at the post. Williams and Sterling combined for 14 gains between them and while five of those were rebounds, it was their positioning and constant pressure that allowed the duo to find that front space to find the loose ball.

While the Ferns sported a high class team, their experience was outweighed by Jamaica’s tried and true connections down the court, firing on all cylinders and using their flair to rack up the deflections and intercepts. While both teams had highly talented defensive attributes, Jamaica collected more gains (21 versus 17) and 13 more deflections than the Ferns. While not all the deflections resulted in gains, every time the Sunshine Girls got hands to ball they put more doubt in the Ferns’ minds, not looking back as they dominated defensively. With two highly strung teams pushing to prove something, all signs of cleanliness went out the window. Both teams racked up over 70 penalties apiece, something almost unheard of especially on the international stage, combining for a whopping 147 penalties throughout.

NEW ZEALAND 11 | 16 | 12 | 16 (55)
JAMAICA 15 | 14 | 17 | 14 (60)

New Zealand

GS: Bailey Mes
GA: Maria Folau
WA: Grace Kara
C: Shannon Saunders
WD: Sam Winders
GD: Katrina Rore
GK: Temalisi Fakahokotau

BENCH: Ameliaranne Ekenasio, Kelly Jury, Claire Kersten, Te Paea Selby-Rickit, Michaela Sokolich-Beatson
COACH: Janine Southby


GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Shanice Beckford
WA: Khadijah Williams
C: Adean Thomas
WD: Vangelee Williams
GD: Stacian Facey
GK: Shamera Sterling

BENCH: Romelda Aiken, Nicole Dixon, Rebekah Robinson, Paula Thompson, Jodi-Ann Ward
COACH: Sasher Henry



Maria Folau 34/44
Bailey Mes 12/20
Ameliaranne Ekenasio 9/13


Romelda Aiken 24/31
Jhaniele Fowler 21/22
Shanice Beckford 15/18

Fantasy teams: New Zealand A v. Jamaica

NEW Zealand have steadily developed the next tier of players over the past couple of years with coach Noeline Taurua taking a clear look to the future of the Silver Ferns as shown with the New Zealand A team. Pitted up against a developing yet strong Jamaican team the battle sees a variety of up and coming stars as well as some experienced and well-versed international players.

New Zealand A:

GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick
GD: Kayla Cullen
WD: Sam Winders
C: Kimiora Poi
WA: Whitney Souness
GA: Tiana Metuarau
GS: Maia Wilson

BENCH: Ellie Bird, Maddy Gordon, Temalisi Fakahokotau

Starting in defence is Pulse premiership player and electrifying goal keeper Sulu Fitzpatrick. The defender is quick on her feet, can leap into action in a heartbeat given her impressive hops and is extremely dynamic both in the air and at ground level. Accompanying her is former Silver Fern and lanky defender Kayla Cullen who oozes nothing but class. She can ply her trade in goal defence, goal keeper or wing defence such is her netball understanding, versatility, strong movement and read of the play making life hard for opposition attackers.

The midcourt is littered with nimble and speedy players that are renowned for their ability to dart around the court and cause havoc. Wing defence, Sam Winders knows what it takes to play at the highest level having stepped out on court for the Ferns multiple times. Her defensive pressure, three-foot marking and ability to shadow attackers makes her a daunting prospect for many as she is constantly on the lookout for her next intercept or tip. Energiser bunny, Kimiora Poi gets the nod at centre with the 168cm nippy midcourter able to exploit every tiny bit of space and use her speed to burn off opponents. Her quick hands into the circle also allows her to catch defenders off guard and deliver pin point passes into the shooters. Partner in crime, Whitney Souness takes out the wing attack position. Although she plays a similar role to Poi given their speed and dynamic movement, her strength around the circle edge and general ball placement to feed into the circle makes her a promising prospect for New Zealand netball.

Looking into the goal circle there is no shortage of talent headlined by the likes of Northern Stars goaler in the ANZ Premiership, Maia Wilson. The 22-year-old has come along in leaps and bounds with her strong holds, and clever footwork, while her impressive rebounding ability, high volume of shorts and accuracy to post are just a couple of key components in her game play. Out in goal attack is Tiana Metuarau who much like her other teammates has developed at a rate of knots with her impressive timing along the baseline and skill with ball in hand. Metuarau has speed to burn, is confident in the attacking third and is not afraid to take the game on.

Rounding out the squad is physical and ball winning defender Temalisi Fakahokotau, speedster Maddy Gordon and holding goaler Ellie Bird.


GK: Shamera Sterling
GD: Jodi-Ann Ward
WD: Vangelee Williams
C: Adean Thomas
WA: Nicole Dixon
GA: Shanice Beckford
GS: Jhaniele Fowler

BENCH: Romelda Aiken, Khadijah Williams, Kadie-Ann Dehaney

There is no denying that the Sunshine Girls are bookended with top tier talent, able to turn a game on its head in a matter of seconds. Down in defence, Shamera Sterling leads the way with the long-limbed defender able to get a hand in everything that comes her way. Her ability to read the play, take a screaming intercept and constantly reject the ball from entering the goal circle is second to none. Out in goal defence, Jodi-Ann Ward plays a less flashy role than her defensive counterpart but still has an undeniable influence with her quick footwork, strong hands over pressure and court coverage to force timely turnovers. Ward is also very versatile able to move into wing defence and goal keeper when needed, giving her that competitive edge.

The midcourt is quite dynamic with all three players possessing plenty of speed to run opponents off their feet. The defensive minded Vangelee Williams is constantly on the hunt for an intercept with the wing defence able to read the play effortlessly and drop into the holes across the court. She is strong around circle edge to create tips and block easy access into the attacking third. Moving into centre is Adean Thomas with the 173cm midcourter able to take the ball at full speed and stop on a dime credit to her control and balance. Thomas is an exciting player to watch, able to light up the court with her playmaking style, dynamic footwork and vision into the circle. Similarly, Nicole Dixon plays with plenty of attacking flair able to find her fair share of space around the circle edge and deliver the ball into the goalers. She is quick off the mark and hardly ever stands still, always looking to work the angles and be an option in the attacking third.

Goal attack Shanice Beckford has speed and skill to boot, able to get under the feet of opposition defenders and command the ball despite her small stature. She is not afraid to back herself under or away from the post and is a real playmaker for Jamaica. Standing tall in goal shooter is Jhaniele Fowler with the 198cm goaler a commanding presence under the post. Her strength in the air is almost unmatchable, constantly reeling down any high balls, and using her body to ward off any oncoming defenders. She is hardly ever fazed by the defensive pressure and puts up a high volume of goals at an even higher accuracy.

On the bench is fellow towering goaler Romelda Aiken, along with dynamic midcourter Khadijah Williams and the ever-reliable Kadie-Ann Dehaney.

Who would win?

Boasting a slightly stronger midcourt group the New Zealand A team have the upper hand in the middle third with the likes of Winders, Poi and Souness all strong options. While Jamaica ooze nothing but class in both the goal keeper and goal shooter positions thanks to Sterling and Fowler it comes down to whether or not the Sunshine Girls can get on top of Wilson and Fitzpatrick to really romp it home something they definitely have the capability to do. With speed to boot and an uncanny intercepting ability Jamaica have a clear upper hand when it comes to not only connections across the court but so too scoring prowess.

Memorable Matches: South Africa defeat Jamaica – NWC 2019

WITH netball taking a back seat to coronavirus in 2020, Draft Central is taking a look at memorable matches in world netball history. Next up is South Africa SPAR Proteas’ stellar three goal victory over Jamaica at the 2019 Netball World Cup. Then world number two nation, Jamaica lost to the Spar Proteas for only the third time, seeing South Africa top Pool C heading into the preliminary rounds.

It was a spectacular start that kept the Proteas ahead from the get-go, limiting every opportunity the Sunshine Girls had to get goals and the board and forcing plenty of errors. While Jamaica has a wealth of talent bookending the court, where they lack some star-power is through the midcourt which is where they were well and truly beaten by South Africa.

The first half went all the way of the South Africans, leading by more than 10 goals at the main change. While it was partially down to the impressive scoreboard pressure the Proteas applied, full credit had to go to the defensive efforts of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni, with the pair denying every opportunity into the goal circle. Where Jhaniele Fowler is a major target at the post for Jamaica, Maweni well and truly shut her down while Pretorius kept the likes of Shanice Beckford away from her range.

Pretorius racked up three intercepts and four gains throughout. A real workhorse through the middle of the court, Erin Burger impressed with her ability to impact on and off the ball and propel the play forward, with Bongi Msomi doing what she does best in attack, running laps around her opposition to hand ball on a silver platter to Lenize Potgieter, who shot 19 goals alone in the first half – only two less than the Sunshine Girls did overall. 

But while the first half was all down to South Africa, Jamaica came out flying to well and truly outscore the Proteas in the second half. A massive 17 goal to 10 third quarter allowed the Sunshine Girls to power their way back into the game, only down by four goals by the final change. Burger was well matched in the second half by Nicole Dixon in at centre, while Vangelle Williams did whatever was necessary to limit Msomi’s impact by blocking her every move – but racking up the penalties as she did so, collecting 16 penalties out at wing defence, only two and one less than respective goal keepers, Sterling (19) and Maweni (18). Khadijah Williams racked up the 21 goal assists to form a threatening combination with Beckford feeding into the circle, racking up 12 alone in the second half.

Where goal keeper Shamera Sterling had a messy first half she cleaned up her act later, only picking up the eight penalties in the second half to pull back the margin, but was not entirely able to limit Potgieter’s silky movement at the post. Sterling only picked up the two intercepts across the entire game, with South Africa aware of the goal keeper’s ability to pluck ball out of the air with ease and able to poke holes in the defensive play.

Fowler dominated at the post with ease in the second half, drawing penalties from the long-limbed Maweni and shooting 23 goals at 100 per cent accuracy to keep Jamaica in the game. It was South Africa’s dominant defensive effort that kept them afloat even when Jamaica came out flying in the second half, with five Proteas collecting an intercept to their name. Where the Proteas racked up elements of defensive pressure, they also kept down the penalties, maintaining the defensive without the physicality. 

The last quarter was neck and neck with neither side really able to grab the momentum, seeing the score see-saw as each team took advantage of their centre pass. But a vital turnover or two allowed South Africa to always stay one step ahead of Jamaica, never conceding a goal for the Sunshine Girls to take the lead. While the defensive pressure was what saw the game come down to the close margin in the end, the phenomenal scoreboard pressure applied by both goal shooters saw the game come down to the wire with little to separate the two stars.

Fowler missed just the one goal all match for 38 goals at 97 per cent accuracy, while Potgieter was just as solid with 36 from 39 attempts. Their respective goal attacks in Beckford and Maryka Holtzhausen were not quite as accurate, shooting at 74 and 66 per cent respectively, but it was their ability to evade their opposition and assist their goal shooter that allowed them both to still have an impact.

JAMAICA 9 | 12  | 17 | 12 (52)
SOUTH AFRICA 16 | 16 | 10 | 13 (55) 


GS: Jhaniele Fowler
GA: Shanice Beckford
WA: Khadijah Williams
C: Nicole Dixon
WD: Vangelee Williams
GD: Stacian Facey
GK: Shamera Sterling

BENCH: Adean Thomas, Jodiann Ward, Romelda Aiken, Kadie-Ann Dehaney, Rebekah Robinson
COACH: Marvette Anderson, Sasher-Gaye Henry


South Africa

GS: Lenize Potgieter
GA: Maryka Holtzhausen
WA: Bongiwe Msomi
C: Erin Burger
WD: Khanyisa Chawane
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Phumza Maweni

BENCH: Shadine van der Merwe, Sigi Burger, Izette Griesel, Renske Stoltz, Zanele Vimbela
COACH: Norma Plummer


Jhaniele Fowler 38/39
Shanice Beckford 14/19

South Africa
Lenize Potgieter 36/39
Maryka Holtzhausen 19/29

2020 Nations Cup: Team-by-team review

THE New Zealand Silver Ferns continued their strong international form taking out the Nations Cup while South Africa floundered their chances. Jamaica upped the ante with some convincing performances to make it to the finals but fall agonisingly short.


The Roses had an up and down Nations Cup but showed moments of magic with crucial wins over South Africa. England donned a very different line-up missing a host of key stars such as Serena Guthrie, Jo Harten, Geva Mentor and Helen Housby instead allowing for the next generation of players to come up through the ranks.  The Roses showed faith in their youngsters with goal shooter George Fisher making her mark on the competition with her accuracy to post. The partnership between Fisher and Eleanor Cardwell developed as the tournament went on but the two struggled with movement in the circle at times given their similar styles. Captain, Natalie Haythornthwaite was an inspiration across the court showcasing her versatility to swing between wing attack and goal attack when needed. They relied on Jade Clarke to stand up through the midcourt but it was not enough at times with Amy Carter and Laura Malcolm still looking to find their feet in the Roses outfit. Goal keeper Razia Quashie was strong throughout the Nations Cup, bodying up on her opposition shooter and hunting the ball while the likes of Stacey Francis and Kate Shimmin both made life difficult in the defensive circle with their aerial ability.


It was a strong showing for the Sunshine Girls who are looking to make amends for a poor international season in 2019. Jamaica announced themselves early in the Nations Cup getting a win over favourites South Africa while also downing hosts England. Defensively they have plenty of talent but will have to rein in the penalties with Shamera Sterling a key offender, often gifting the ball back to the opposition thanks to her ill-discipline. However, she also proved she can turn a game on its head with her impressive leap and defensive prowess. The combination between Sterling and Kadie-Ann Dehaney improved at a rate of knots while Jodi Ann Ward also put her hand up down back winning the ball with her timely tips and quick footwork. Up the other end, Jhaniele Fowler was as solid as ever using her commanding height, strong holds and athleticism to reel in balls and score freely. The combination with Shanice Beckford paid dividends with the two rotating through the goal circle but unfortunately they were a step behind the Silver Ferns throughout the tournament.

New Zealand

The absence of veterans Katrina Rore and Laura Langman seemed to do no damage to the all-conquering Silver Ferns team. With Maria Folau also retiring the Ferns needed a new go to girl in the goal circle which Maia Wilson delivered. New Zealand were hot from the get-go with their strong connections and silky ball movement on full display not skipping a beat winning the inaugural Nations Cup title. New captain Ameliaranne Ekenasio led from the front with the talented goal attack adapting to the players around her while also doing damage with her long-bomb shooting. Defensively the likes of Jane Watson, Phoenix Karaka and Karin Burger shone with the trio posing a dominant threat and picking off any passes that came their way. It was a complete performance by the Ferns who went from strength to strength trying out new connections and dominating. Through the midcourt the inclusion of Kimiora Poi and Whitney Souness provided plenty of excitement with the two offering speed, dynamic movement and good vision into the circle.

South Africa

It was a relatively disappointing Nations Cup for the Spar Proteas who failed to register a win despite having a stacked line-up. South Africa simply could not get going, struggled to capitalise on their opportunities. The attacking end seemed to be a main area of concern with no one able to fulfil the goal attack role despite having a wealth of depth in the goal shooter position. Lenize Potgieter was a standout with the quick fire shooter making the most of her chances and punishing the opposition with her accuracy to post. Ine-Mari Venter was solid when on court but the combination of her and Potgieter lacked movement and while the inclusion of Lefébre Rademan injected some speed into the circle they could not generate enough scoring chances to post a threatening total. Karla Pretorius was down on her lofty standards unable to have the same influence in the defensive third as usual with Phumza Maweni also following suit. Zanele Vimbela showed glimpses of magic in goal keeper while through the midcourt Rome Dreyer and veteran Bongi Msomi plied their trade. Unfortunately, it was inconsistency that really cost the Spar Proteas stringing together a couple of good quarters and then dropping the bundle.

Ferns reign supreme in inaugural Nations Cup

THE Silver Ferns picked up where they left off claiming an 11-goal win (67-58) over Jamaica in the grand final and ultimately securing the inaugural Nations Cup. Meanwhile South Africa and England played it out for third spot with the Roses coming up with the goods.

New Zealand (67) defeated Jamaica (58)

It was a tight opening half with both sides going toe-to-toe and not willing to give an inch before the game really opened up in the second half. Despite missing key players across the court, the Ferns proved they have plenty of depth and a wealth of options no matter what is thrown at them. On the other hand, Jamaica went with consistency hoping to build some type of pressure and allow the players exposure to as much court time as possible.

It is hard to deny that the combination between Ameliaranne Ekenasio and Maia Wilson will be one to watch in future games with the two posing a real threat in the goal circle. Their accuracy to post and sheer understanding is second to none with the two sensing the space and capitalising on every opportunity that came their way only missing two goals in the first term. Wing attack, Gina Crampton was solid for the Ferns identifying the space and delivering well weighted passes into the goalers. Accuracy proved to be the flavour of the quarter with Sunshine Girls shooting duo Jhaniele Fowler and Shanice Beckford sitting at 100 per cent. Fowler was the dominant shooter once again converting 12 goals straight while Beckford did the work out the front to feed the ball into her.

With only one goal separating them at quarter time Jamaica upped the ante in the second to go into half time level. New Zealand made a couple of changes through the midcourt and shuffled the defensive unit around a bit with centre Shannon Saunders pushed into wing defence. Collingwood Magpies recruit Jodi Ann Ward highlighted her impressive skillset with the Jamaican wing defence not skipping a beat, picking up two intercepts and two games in the second quarter alone. The overall defensive pressure increased from the Sunshine Girls while in the attacking end, Khadijah Williams plied her trade delivering crafty passes into the goalers.

Sitting at 30 goals apiece, New Zealand took their foot off the break and threw everything at Jamaica in the third term to take a commanding lead into the final change. The inclusion of Kimiora Poi and Whitney Souness through the midcourt offered plenty of speed and youth with the two darting around and hitting the circle edge with precision. Poi showed her more attacking craft during the third collecting eight goal assists while Souness followed suit with seven. Ekenasio and Wilson found their synergy once again after the captain struggled to have an impact on the scoreboard in the second. Defensively, goal keeper Jane Watson lifted her game, hunting the ball and making life hard for Fowler and Beckford. Watson racked up two gains, two intercepts and one deflection throughout the quarter highlighting her increased tenacity. Although Phoenix Karaka did not feature highly on the stats sheet, it was her work off the ball in the third that proved to be the difference, with the goal defence shutting down any space or avenue to goal.

With the title on the line, Jamaica was not about to go down without a fight with Shamera Sterling leading the way in the defensive circle. The talented defender used her feet and impressive wingspan to get hands to ball and disrupt the attacking play of the Ferns picking up two gains, one intercept and four deflections but it was not enough to change the route of the game. ward continued her strong form with another intercept and gain while Nicole Dixon was strong through the centre but no match for New Zealand. Wilson finished the game with an impressive 44 goals from 47 attempts at 94 per cent accuracy, while partner-in-crime Ekenasio was not far behind with 22 goals from 28 attempts at 79 per cent. For Jamaica, Fowler was a rock under the post once again nailing 46 goals from 47 attempts at a whopping 98 per cent, with goal attack Beckford posting 10 goals from 11 attempts.


England (65) defeated South Africa (63)

It was a tale of two halves with England dominating most of the first and second quarter while, South Africa turned the tables in the third and fourth but fell agonisingly short. The Roses went on a scoring rampage of sorts in the second term piling on 19 goals to 14 well and truly taking control of the match with the likes of George Fisher and Eleanor Cardwell. The two have shown they have what it takes to match it with the best and delivered once again. The defensive unit of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni was not up to their usual high standard with two beaten for height in the goal circle. But the inclusion of Zanele Vimbela in the third really opened things up, with the goal keeper getting hands to ball and creating crucial turnover opportunities. The work of sharp shooter Lenize Potgieter was on full display with the goaler owning the circle with her strong movement and accuracy to post to keep her side in the hunt. A big third quarter effort from the Spar Proteas almost saw them steal the win, but the Roses stood strong with the likes of Jade Clarke stepping up through the midcourt while Razia Quashie and Stacey Francis played their role down back with the latter taking a game changing intercept to gift her side the all-important two-goal win.

2020 Nations Cup preview: Finals

AN entertaining 2020 Netball Nations Cup has almost come to an end with the final day of action taking place less than 24 hours after the round robin competition concluded. Following three rounds, New Zealand has remained undefeated, while Jamaica picked up two wins against the other two nations to book a spot in the final against the Silver Ferns.

New Zealand vs. Jamaica

These sides faced off in Round 2 of the competition with the Silver Ferns producing a crushing 26-goal defeat over the Sunshine Girls. In that match, New Zealand dominated from start to finish, winning 71-45 in a one-sided affair. Across the four quarters, the Silver Ferns scored 18 or more goals in three quarters, whilst restricting the Sunshine Girls to 11 or less in three of those terms. Both teams are capable of scoring when in form, with a 34-goal final quarter (20-14 New Zealand’s way) a testament to that. It was Maia Wilson who shone brightest with 42 goals from 45 attempts and was too strong for Jamaica’s defensive unit. Shamera Sterling‘s athleticism and X-factor is best used moving around the goal circle, hunting for cross-court balls or influencing play but will have to try and body up on Wilson to throw her off her game. Wilson is far from the only dangerous shooter, with captain Ameliarnne Ekenasio the most damaging shooter in the side. She has been able to continue her role in goal attack with the retirement of Maria Folau, and has not missed a beat so far, able to set up scoring opportunities and go to post when she sees fitting. In the clash between these nations, Ekenasio scored 18 goals from 22 attempts and had 13 goal assists from 16 feeds. Up the other end of the court, Jane Watson will have a massive job trying to quell the influence of super shooter Jhaniele Fowler. The towering goal shooter was at her best in Jamaica’s last round win over England, but will have a greater challenge against Watson and Karin Burger, with Phoenix Karaka likely to spend time on Fowler as well. In the last clash, Fowler scored 38 goals from 40 attempts, but will also likely be double teamed again given her high-volume production. Through the midcourt, Nicole Dixon and Kimiora Poi could have some great battles with Poi earning a start in the Silver Ferns’ win over South Africa and not putting a foot wrong. Shannon Saunders and Gina Crampton will aide her in the midcourt, while Shanice Beckford‘s versatility between wing attack and goal attack is important for the Sunshine Girls. Collingwood Magpies fans will be keen to see how Jodi Ann Ward copes in the final with the Jamaican excitement machine to be a top inclusion for the Magpies this year in the Suncorp Super Netball. Overall, the depth of New Zealand should be too much, with star players both on the court and on the bench. Goalers Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Bailey Mes are impact players for the Ferns while Saunders and Karaka are equally important. Although the Sunshine Girls have some good young talents, they rely heavily on their top stars to get the win meaning New Zealand should take home the inaugural Nations Cup crown.

England vs. South Africa

The clash between two the two bottom sides from the tournament will be a fascinating one, with England getting up by five goals, 58-53, in the last clash between the teams in Round 2 of the competition. They were evenly matched for the most part, with only the Roses’ ability to stand up in crunch moments, particularly late in the contest being the key difference. Both sides have shown some strong signs this tournament, with the SPAR Proteas forcing the Silver Ferns onto the back foot in the Round 3 clash at times, but just not being able to produce it for long enough. England is in a similar situation, missing stars like Geva Mentor, Serena Guthrie and Jo Harten in each third of the court, they have had to rely on a lot of fresh faces getting increased roles against more experienced international players. South Africa on the other hand have gone through a little bit of a change, but ultimately have a close to full-strength outfit, and would be a bit disappointed not to pick up a win at this carnival after their World Cup showing by taking it up to the other nations. This game will likely come down to which nation will be able to hold up for long enough and play consistently through the midcourt to give their shooters the best chance of winning. Ine-Mari Venter was terrific in the mid two quarters against New Zealand and should be utilised well on court with Lenize Potgieter, making them a dual threat close to the post. While both prefer the goal shooter bib, their relationship inside the circle is crucial to South Africa putting up a big total here. Lefébre Rademan is another one to watch out for in the goal circle for the Proteas with the goal attack able to inject speed and dynamism to shake the opposition up. England might be missing a few names, but Jade Clarke and Nat Haythornthwaite provide a calming influence through the midcourt, with Haythornthwaite even spending time in goal attack in the absence of Helen Housby. Chelsea Pitman and Kate Shimmin provide an Adelaide Thunderbirds feel to the line-up, while you can never discount the excitement of George Fisher and Amy Carter. The Spar Proteas rely a lot on their attacking end’s flow, and Bongi Msomi is a crucial part of that line-up with her ability to feed through to the circle and provide goal assist opportunities with great leadership on-court. The defensive pairing of Karla Pretorius and Phumza Maweni is one that is always difficult to stop, with the Sunshine Coast Lightning duo consistently imposing themselves on the game and looking for opportunities to get involved. Shadine van der Merwe is the cog between those two and Msomi in the attacking end, and how they all operate on the day will determine their team’s fate. South Africa is a huge chance to win its first game of the tournament given the names on paper, but everything has to go right, and you can never discount England on home soil.

Sunshine Girls survive Roses fourth quarter comeback to book Nations Cup final spot

JAMAICA Sunshine Girls have turned around the disappointment of missing out on the 2019 Netball World Cup by reaching the 2020 Netball Nations Cup final yesterday. Defeating England Roses on their home court 70-66, the Sunshine Girls now advance through to the final to try and find a way to take down the undefeated New Zealand Silver Ferns.

The match started out on fairly even terms with England going all-out to try and gain the win and book a spot in the final on January 26. The winner of the game would advance through and both sides knew it with the Sunshine Girls making a move late in the first quarter to lead by three goals at the first change. The Roses got a huge roar when Kadeen Corbin drew the side within a goal and a minute on the clock, but it was Jhaniele Fowler who scored immediately and then a Roses rushed pass saw an intercept and Fowler double up, then capitalise on three attempts in the dying seconds to push it out to an 19-15 advantage.

The Roses were looking the less sharp of the sides with some errors in attack and the extra experience of Chelsea Pitman came onto the court in the second, while Natalie Haythornthwaite moved from the wing into goal attack. Fowler was prepared for the double-team against Stacey Francis and Kate Shimmin, and adjusted accordingly, having to allow Shanice Beckford to carry some of the load in the goal circle. The huge amount of pressure being applied by the Sunshine Girls’ defence of Shamera Sterling and Kadie-Ann Dehaney was telling as they extended the lead out to seven goals at the main break, 39-31.

The Roses made some more changes in the third as the crowd tried to get them up and about as Amy Carter came on for a chance in center having played a small portion at wing attack in the first half. The experienced Jade Clarke was sent to wing defence, while Pitman – who had made way for Carter late in the term – returned to wing attack. With Haythornthwaite at goal attack she was solid alongside Eleanor Cardwell, but they were not able to match it with super scoring machine, Fowler up the other end and the visiting side posted 18 goals to 13 to lead by what looked to be an unbeatable 13-goal lead.

Despite the clear deficit, the undermanned Roses side was not going to throw in the towel, ready for one last effort in the last term with the huge sold out crowd behind them. The last 15 minutes of the match gave fans a glimpse of what an England side missing the likes of Geva Mentor, Jo Harten and Serena Guthrie was capable of, roaring to life to score a massive 22 goals – half of what they had scored in the first three quarters – to Jamaica’s 13 – only just falling short of a huge comeback, going down 66-70. In the term, George Fisher got a shot at goal shooter, while Cardwell moved to goal attack and it was Fisher who managed to dig into the lead with some neat shooting under pressure.

The game was not without some aggression as Sterling and Cardwell clashed in the third term, but the high pressure stakes made it for entertaining netball with the full-strength Jamaican side doing what it had to do against an England side giving valuable court minutes to a lot of its future stars. Now the Sunshine Girls head to the Nations Cup final to face the Silver Ferns, while the Roses look to repeat their effort against the Spar Proteas from earlier in the week with a victory in the Bronze Medal final.

2020 Nations Cup: Head to Head Game 3

THERE will be some eye-catching battles once again in the Nations Cup with New Zealand and South Africa set to do battle while England take on Jamaica. All four countries have a wealth of players who can cause damage across the court. We take a look at one potential matchup from each game and assess the likely outcome.

Karin Burger (WD) v. Bongi Msomi (WA)

Both players have very differing styles but are essential in getting their respective teams over the line. New Zealand are renowned for their zone style of defence, a role Burger plays well, while South Africa and Msomi in particular will be focusing on using speed to keep the Ferns’ heads spinning.

Burger has come along in leaps and bounds in the past year with the talented defender developing her craft and using her height to full advantage. She is quite nimble and light on her feet, able to shadow her opposition wing attack and not get run off her feet. Her balance paired with her aerial skill makes her a damaging prospect around the circle edge for the Silver Ferns. She is deceptively fast and uses her three-foot marking to block the view of her opposition and cause turnovers. Burger is not afraid to back herself and hunt any cross-court ball while her ability to get hands to ball helps to disrupt the attacking flow of the opposition.

The South African captain oozes experience and speed, often darting around the court and hitting the circle edge with precision. Although she can be costly at times making unforced ball-handling errors, she is a real barometer for the Spar Proteas given her drive and timing. Msomi is the key to bringing the ball down court seamlessly and giving first access to the goalers. Her work at the centre pass is second to none, consistently coming out to provide an option while her repositioning around the circle edge allows the shooters to reset. Msomi is renowned for her quick footwork and fast hands, able to dish off passes and use her vision to deliver pin point passes despite the defensive pressure.

It will be an exciting match-up between the two players who boast an extremely different skillset. Burger will have the height advantage standing at 184cm compared to Msomi at 166cm and will be hoping to have an immediate impact with her hands over pressure. If the Silver Fern can clog up the space and block Msomi’s vision across the court she will be able to halt the Spar Proteas’ attacking third.

Kate Shimmin (GD) v. Shanice Beckford (GA)

Jamaica got their Nations Cup off to a hot start and will want to prove they can match it with the best despite England lacking their usual star power. Beckford is a part of the furniture in the Jamaican team while Shimmin is still adjusting to the international stage, making for an intriguing contest between the two.

Australian and Adelaide Thunderbirds favourite, Shimmin has a plethora of athletic ability with her leap a major draw card of her game. She is often able to get up to the high balls and reel them in despite not being overly tall like many other defenders. Still finding her feet in the Roses line-up, Shimmin will want to assert herself on the contest and use her pressure over the shot to cause doubt in the goalers’ minds. The defender is renowned for her physical style and hunt for the ball and will want to bring those instincts into the clash to get her side over the line.

The tiny Jamaican goal attack plays a crucial role in the Sunshine Girls attack end, often providing support for the likes of Jhaniele Fowler or Shimona Nelson. Beckford’s role should not be underestimated with the goaler often the mastermind behind some clever attacking forays and helping to create space. Her nous on when to cut through the circle or float across the top is impressive and while she does not put up a lot of shots plays a good cameo when need be, especially with her ability to turn and shoot from anywhere. She is a real speedster through the midcourt and attacking third, constantly giving and going to open space and keeping the defenders guessing.

It will be a relatively even contest between the two players with Shimmin able to match Beckford for speed but having the upper hand when it comes to aerial ability. However, if the goal attack is left unmarked for too long she will be able to dictate the game with her precision passing and understanding with Fowler, meaning Jamaica will more than likely get the win.

New Zealand flexes muscles against misfiring Jamaica

THE New Zealand Silver Ferns showed why they are the team to beat with a convincing performance against Jamaica 71-45. The Sunshine Girls simply had no answers for the Ferns who moved the ball with pace and precision, really exploiting their opposition through the midcourt.

New Zealand dominated the first quarter with both Maia Wilson and Ameliaranne Ekenasio doing a wealth of damage under the post only missing a combined two goals. The two were in perfect harmony rotating through the circle with ease and using all the tricks in the book to have an impact on the scoreboard. The work out the front from wing attack Gina Crampton was impressive slicing through the defence. Crampton used her experience and high netball IQ to weave around the court and hit the circle edge with intent racking up four goal assists in the opening quarter. For Jamaica, Jhaniele Fowler was a dominant force once again with the tall shooter commanding the ball and capitalising nailing 10 goals from 11 attempts. But it was the lack of scoreboard presence from Shanice Beckford that really halted the Sunshine Girls ability to have an influence or dictate the game.

The second quarter followed a similar vein but Jamaica upped the ante only out scored by three goals.  The increased defensive pressure through the mid court with Shadian Hemmings coking on at wing defence made a real difference when it came to the speed of the ball down the court. Hemmings was not the only change with Sterling pushed out to goal defence and Kadie-Ann Dehaney pulling on the goal keeper bib. The trio worked tirelessly to shut down the Ferns attacking forays using their read of the play and three foot marking to cause a ruckus. Despite an increased presence by the Sunshine Girls, the Ferns continued their merry way unfazed by the changes and maintaining the same line up.

The half time break proved to be handy for the Ferns who went on a scoring spree in the third quarter piling on 19 goals to Jamaica’s nine. Fresh legs helped to run the Sunshine Girls off their feet with Te Paea Selby-Rickit and Whitney Souness doing the damage in the third. In hope to get back within reach of the Ferns, Shannika Johnson made her way onto the court in goal keeper but appeared to be no match for Wilson who had well and truly settled into her scoring rhythm. Wilson continued her range shooting 12 goals straight while defensively New Zealand took it up a notch led by Phoenix Karaka. The goal defence showed her speed and agility picking off passes and interrupting the flow of Jamaica who simply could not enter the attacking third with ease. Despite not registering a whole lot on the stats sheet the work Jane Watson did off the ball was impressive, working in overdrive to confuse the space and use her feet to consistently get around the body of Fowler. Jamaica really laboured down the court with centre, Latanya Wilson unable to feed into the circle meaning wing attack Nicole Dixon had to lift the load to deliver into the goalers. On the other hand, Shannon Saunders put out an impressive display running hard both ways and using her skill to deliver well-weighted passes into the circle notching up nine feeds and seven goal assists.

By the fourth quarter, New Zealand all but had the win under their belt thanks to a dominate third quarter forcing Jamaica into a chase position. But they did not rest on their laurels scoring their highest quarter score for the game with 20 goals keeping their opposition to 14 goals. New Zealand showcased more of their depth with Kimiora Poi pulling on the centre bib and not skipping a beat with the speedster getting her hand in everything. Poi highlighted both her attacking and defensive abilities managing four deflections, two pickups and four goal assists. Watson’s departure allowed Fowler more freedom with the goal shooter adding 14 goals to the total and while Gezelle Allison had no scoreboard impact she provided another feeding option but it was little too late for Jamaica.

Ill-discipline ultimately cost Jamaica the game with Sterling giving away a whopping 26 penalties, more than the entire Ferns team across four quarters. Wilson proved too strong under the post only missing three of her 45 attempts at 93 per cent accuracy, Ekenasio was deadly too nailing 18 goals at 82 per cent, while Selby-Rickit also impressed, piling on 11 goals from 13 attempts. Fowler was the shining light for Jamaica rock solid under the post with 38 goals from 40 attempts.

2020 Nations Cup: Jamaica stuns a stacked South African side

South Africa (54) defeated by Jamaica (59)

It was a frantic final minute with South Africa looking to do the unthinkable and snatch victory from Jamaica, but the Sunshine Girls stood strong securing a four-goal win to kick start their international campaign. Jamaica flew out of the blocks early pushing their opposition into chase position from the get-go thanks to their slick and patient ball movement.

The Spar Proteas were not afraid to play around with positions, with Lenize Potgieter donning the goal attack bib in the first quarter. Although it took her some time to find her feet Potgieter built into the game, using her netball nous and strong holds to hit the scoreboard. Paired with Ine-Mari Venter, the two showed they have plenty of skill but at times struggle with movement in the goal circle given their holding tendencies. The defensive combination of Kadie-Ann Dehaney and Shamera Sterling was near on unstoppable given their prowess in the air and at ground level. Renowned for their ability to read the play and take an intercept the two consistently delivered, using their feet to get around the body of the opponent and use their long reach over the shot to cause doubt. The Proteas struggled to combat the speed and decision making of Jamaica, constantly on the back foot and unable to find their normal rhythm across the court. Jamaica established a six-goal lead heading into quarter time credit to their clever play and strong defensive play setting them up for a dominant game.

With the defence end, solid Jhaniele Fowler upped the ante under the goal post with the towering goal shooter making light work of Phumza Maweni. The South African goal keeper was on the receiving end of a lot of whistle, bodying up on Fowler and causing contact which ultimately gifted the Sunshine Girls with any easy passage to goal. The work of Nicole Dixon and Khadijah Williams through the midcourt was impressive, constantly identifying the space and delivering the ball into Fowler time and time again. Their turn of pace helped to give them that edge against South Africa with both players driving hard to create space. The connection between the Spar Proteas defensive trio was solid with Shadine van der Merwe plying her trade through the midcourt and down back using her speed to fly through for an intercept. As the game went on the partnership of Venter and Potgieter blossomed with the two rotating through with more ease and choosing the right time to hold or move, while also showcasing that accuracy was not an issue capitalising on their opportunities. Despite the attack end stabilizing, Jamaica were still in full control using the angles to transition down the court and ball speed.

Despite a commanding lead Jamaica made a couple of changes with Sterling switching into her preferred position of goal keeper and Latanya Wilson coming on in goal defence. Ward had an immediate impact, getting involved in the transition and applying strong hands over pressure to block Potgieter’s view. South Africa also rung in the changes with Potgieter dropping back into goal shooter while Lefébre Rademan pulled on the goal attack bib. Rademan offered speed and agility in the goal circle forcing the new Jamaican defensive unit to rethink their approach. Wing attack and speedster Bongi Msomi was crucial through the midcourt for the Proteas, working the ball down the court and weaving in and out of the pocket to make space in the attacking third. But Jamaica was unfazed by the changes, sticking to the basics and thinking through everything their opposition threw at them. By three quarter time the Sunshine Girls held a 12-goal lead credit to their dominant performance across each third.

After a disappointing third term, South Africa came out with a fire in the belly and increased intensity. Goal defence and live wire Karla Pretorius upped the ante hunting the ball at every opportunity and limiting the movement of Shanice Beckford who had the best of her in the previous quarters. Through the midcourt Rome Dreyer lifted her game, using her precision passing and vision to deliver pin point passes into Potgieter and Rademan. The increased movement in the goal circle opened up more options for the Proteas with the two shooters relishing the extra space and causing headaches for the Jamaican defenders. Up the other end, Jamaica brought on Shimona Nelson with the young shooter making the most of her opportunities, holding strong and using her aerial ability to reel in passes. But despite the moment being well and truly with South Africa they left their run too late, with Jamaica running out comfortably.