sports gazette

England vs. Jamaica: Top Five Netball Matches

Published: 8 Nov 2016

England will renew their rivalry with Jamaica in a three-match Vitality Netball International Series this November and December.

The Sunshine Girls’ first full tour to England in four years will see the two sides meet in London (Tuesday 29th November), Manchester (Friday 2nd December) and Coventry (Sunday 4th December).

Sports Gazette recalls five of the most impressive and dramatic matches between the netballing superpowers.

1. 1984 Sugar International: England 49-51 Jamaica

Quite simply summed up by many players, coaches and fans afterwards by the phrase “I don’t believe it,” England lost to Jamaica for the first time.

Despite the home side leading at the end of each of the first three quarters, Jamaica overturned an 11-goal deficit to triumph.

Patricia McDonald, Jamaica’s 6ft 2in goal shooter, put in a particularly impressive performance – 39 goals from 47 attempts – to help her team come from behind.

Even more extraordinary was the fact that McDonald was benched for the first quarter but brought her team to within six goals of England in the opening few minutes of the second quarter.

2. 2002 Commonwealth Games: Jamaica 55-53 England

England failed to match their 1998 Kuala Lumpar success, suffering a narrow defeat to Jamaica in a tense bronze medal play-off.

Despite establishing a lead in the first quarter and the game being evenly-matched in the second, England fell behind in the third as Jamaica built a five-point lead.

Five quick-fire goals brought England level at 40-40, much to the delight of the sold-out crowd in Manchester, before Jamaica edged it 41-40 to set up a dramatic final quarter.

England were unable to capitalise after taking the lead with seven minutes left to play and instead rued a missed opportunity to secure a draw when Jamaica were one point ahead in the dying stages.

3. 2006 Commonwealth Games: Jamaica 52-53 England

England's netballers avenged their 2002 heartbreak with a last-gasp goal to claim a bronze medal by the narrowest of margins.

Marg Caldow’s side didn’t get off to the best of starts though, trailing 29-22 at the halfway mark.

However, some sharp shooting from Abby Teare reduced the deficit to just one point going into the fourth quarter.

In a nail-biting final 60 seconds, Teare sank the winning shot to secure third place and reverse the 2002 result.

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4. 2012 International Series: England 62-58 Jamaica

Frenetic, fast and fabulous - the Roses won the decider to seal the trophy in a fitting finale to the most recent three-match series between the two sides.

Nothing separated the teams at the end of the first quarter before Joanne Harten capitalised from Laura Malcolm’s interception and England stretched to a 34-30 advantage.

An exemplary third-quarter performance – 100 per cent chance conversion by the England shooters – saw the Roses retain their narrow lead.

The Sunshine Girls wasted the opportunity to score a turnover after being penalised for a footwork call and an astonishing effort from the edge of the circle by Harten secured the victory with 30 seconds on the clock.

5. 2015 Netball World Cup: England 66-44 Jamaica

Tracey Neville guided England to bronze in her first major tournament in charge.

After a slow start and lagging five goals behind in the first quarter of the play-off, Neville’s tactical changes, including bringing on experienced Sonia Mkoloma, paid dividends.

Playing in her fourth Netball World Cup, Mkoloma produced a world-class performance, shoring up her side’s defence, while England’s accuracy at the other end of the pitch swung the game in their favour.

Leading 28-25 at half time, the Roses never looked back as imposing goal shooter Joanne Harten notched up a stunning 52 goals to help see the game out with ease.

If these five games are anything to go by, the upcoming international series should be a hotly-contested, fiery and entertaining affair.

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