Sunshine Girls finish second at Fast 5 Netball World Series
Jamaica's Sunshine Girls suffered a one-point defeat against New Zealand in the grand final of the 2018 Fast 5 Netball World Series at the Melbourne Arena on Sunday.
The Sunshine Girls had beaten New Zealand 33-32 during pool-play earlier in the day, but missed out when it mattered most as the Silver Ferns bounced back for a thrilling 34-33 victory in the gold medal match.
It was a solid start from both teams in the opening quarter with New Zealand taking a narrow lead before widening the scoreline during their power play quarter – where all points scored are doubled.
More than 10 points ahead, things looked good for New Zealand in the final quarter. However, Shanice Beckford landed a crunch goal for the Sunshine Girls from the three-point zone, which doubled to six, to cut the Ferns' lead 32-29 with three minutes to play.
From there, the Sunshine Girls were happy to get close to the goal, knowing a simple conversion would accumulate two points.
Karin Burger sealed the silverware for the Kiwis with a decisive intercept in the closing stages, which halted Jamaica's momentum.
Jamaica suffered though with Thristina Hardwood and Romelda Aiken missing all their long shot scoring opportunities, even though Aiken hit 16 out of her 17 one-point shots. It was New Zealand’s defensive pressure that seemed to spook their long-range shooting abilities.
“We are disappointed because last year we were in the final and lost by one point, and those one-pointers always hurt the most,” said Jamaica’s key defence Vangelee Williams.
Jamaica's Shamera Sterling was named player of the series for her consistent outstanding defensive efforts.