Jamaica wins title as Barbados qualify for World Cup
JAMAICA has taken out the Netball World Cup Americas Qualifiers, while Barbados secured its place in next year’s World Cup in Cape Town. The Sunshine Girls took on Trinidad & Tobago in a battle of the undefeated sides coming into the final day of the Qualifiers and came up trumps, while the Bajan Gems had no problems against Antigua & Barbuda.
In the clash between the top two nations at the event, it was Jamaica that tore out to a big lead, piling on 21 goals in the opening 15 minutes thanks to the powerful combination of Jhaniele Fowler and Gezelle Allison. The Sunshine Girls lead by 10 goals at the opening break, but the likes of Afeisha Noel was busy up the other end for the Calypso Girls. The gap had widened to 15 goals by the main break and 19 by the final change as the Jamaicans looked set to seal it.
Trinidad & Tobago’s defence was holding firm against the tide, with Shaquanda Greene-Noel standing up having played against Fowler earlier, and teaming up well with Jeresia McEachrane in the defensive third. It would not be enough though as the Jamaicans – who rotated plenty of options – stepped up in the last quarter to score 12-9 and finish 22 goals ahead of the Calypso Girls, 69-47.
In the other televised match, St Vincent and The Grenadines ended any hope Grenada had of qualifying for the World Cup with a 19-goal victory. Both teams were evenly matched and ultimately were battling for fourth spot, with the scores level at 16 goals apiece at quarter time. The second quarter was a different story as St Vincent and The Grenadines piled on 21 goals to 13 to open up an eight-goal buffer at the main break.
Mary-Ann Frederick was strong under the post and putting on a dominant display for the leaders, as she often took on a couple of defenders. Grenada did manage to claw back the deficit at times but still trailed by eight goals at the last change. St Vincent and The Grenadines stepped up yet again in the fourth quarter as the nation scored 20 goals to nine and run away with a comfortably 19-goal win in the end, 69-50.
While the only hope for St Vincent and The Grenadines was for Barbados to lose to the winless Antigua & Barbuda comfortably, it turned out to be the opposite. The Bajan Gems destroyed their opponents by 39 goals, 68-29 to emphatically seal a place in next year’s World Cup. In the other result, St Lucia grabbed a win over the Cayman Islands to make it back-to-back victories and slotted into seventh overall on the table.