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Aiken, Mento and Beckford Chambers Dominating on the Court

The buoyant Jamaicans Sunshine Girls took a 1-0 lead in what is expected to be a hotly contested series, following their easy 56-47 win over the English girls in game one last night.

It’s a result that sets the Jamaicans on course to avenge their 0-3 loss to England at the same venue in 2013 and build the momentum going into this year’s World Netball Championships.

The ‘twin towers’ – Romelda Aiken with 19 goals from 26 attempts and Jhaniele Fowler, 19 from 25 – were the main scorers for the Sunshine Girls. Both players received good support from Shanice Beckford (12 goals from 15 attempts) and Ann-Kay Griffiths (six goals from 11 attempts).

Jo Harten (26 goals from 31 attempts) and Sasha Corbin (12 goals from 16 attempts) led the lines for England in their losing effort.

But the hosts came out firing on all cylinders in the second quarter as they romped to a 18-13 lead, which forced England coach Anna Mayes into a time-out. Mayes brought on Pamela Cookey to replace Stacey Francis at goal attack.

Despite the change, the Sunshine Girls kept the pressure on their opponents to extend their lead to 30-24 at half-time.

Big credit to the locals’ defensive unit, which included captain Nicole Aiken-Pinncok, Stacian Facey and Vangelee Williams, who did well to shut down the English attackers and force 16 turnovers in the stanza.

Aiken-Pinnock, in particular, made several key interceptions throughout.

PACKED ARENA

Playing in front of a packed NISC, the Sunshine Girls head coach brought on Fowler to replace Aiken in the third quarter.

The move paid off for the Jamaicans, as the experienced Fowler, who plies her trade in the ANZ Championships, sunk seven straight baskets to extend the Sunshine Girls’ lead to 42-34 at the end of the third period.

The English attackers were limited to just 10 goals by the Jamaican defenders who played brilliantly in the third period.

Playing with a lot of guts and determination in the fourth quarter, the Jamaicans closed out the win as they outplayed the English girls in every department.

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