Report from Netball Jamaica:
Day 9 – Semi-final day. The Girls woke up motivated and determined to break through frontiers into uncharted territory. After a wholesome and healthy home cooked breakfast, it was down to the business at hand. A final team meeting before boarding the buses to the Allphones Arena and all was set.
The atmosphere inside the Arena was charged with the home town crowd large and in charge. However, a critical mass of Jamaican and adopted New Zealand supporters, made sure the Aussies didn't have it all their way. The battle tested Sunshine Girls made their way out into the arena to thunderous applause from the Jamaican supporters and Kiwi fans.
The starting 7 included, GS Romelda Aiken, GA Shanice Beckford, WD Sasher-Gaye Henry, C Paula Thompson, WA Khadijah Williams, GK Stacian Facey and GD Vangelee Williams.
In a physical and fast paced game, the Australian Diamonds jumped out to an early 5:1 lead, but the Sunshine Girls clawed their way back into contention closing the first quarter down 15:17. Jamaica made two substitutions midway the second quarter bringing in C Nicole Dixon for Paula Thompson and GK Kadie Ann Dehaney for Khadijah Williams. Sasher Gaye-Henry moved to WA and Stacian Facey moved to GD. The action was furious as both teams pressed hard, but it was Australia who had the better of play, shooting an outstanding 35/36 for the first half to take a 35:26 lead at the end of the second quarter.
Jamaica outscored Australia 16:14 in the third quarter to pull it back by two at the end of the third quarter and set themselves up for a run at the defending champions in the fourth quarter. In the fourth quarter, GS Romelda Aiken was moved to GK while Jhaniele Fowler-Reid came in at GS. The changes put Australia under a bit of pressure but they too made changes and were able to consolidate their position outscoring Jamaica 18:14 in the final quarter and going on to win 67:56. Jamaica had 18 turnovers for the match compared to Australia's 12. Shooting accuracy stats were Australia 94%, Jamaica 90%.
Scores by quarter were:
Q1 JAM 15 AUS 17
Q2 JAM 26 AUS 35
Q3 JAM 42 AUS 49
Q4 JAM 56 AUS 67
The Girls fought tooth and nail against a tough Australian outfit and before a world record 16244 netball fans in the Arena. They stood tall and did their country proud, playing right through to the end. If this level of intensity is maintained for the bronze medal clash against England tomorrow, the Girls will be adding to their medal tally in major championships.
Remember to visit www.nwc2015.com.au for comprehensive match stats, results, photos, short videos and other interesting features as well as the Netball Jamaica FB page for great info.