Commonwealth Games: Jamaica dominate New Zealand to reach first major final | Netball News

Emma Thurston

Interviews, comments & analysis

The Sunshine Girls continued their outstanding work with a 67-51 win over New Zealand; this follows their pool final win over Australia and means they will play in a major final on Sunday for the first time; England and Australia go to court for the second semi-final at 2:30 p.m.

Last update: 06/08/22 11:11

Jamaica advance to gold medal game for first time in history

Jamaica advance to gold medal game for first time in history

Jamaica will contest a Commonwealth Games final for the first time in their history after a record 67-51 win over New Zealand in the semi-finals on Saturday.

The team followed up their outstanding victory in the final against Australia with another clinical performance in the semi-finals.

Jamaica dominated defensively early on and held a 36-22 halftime lead over the Silver Ferns. Shamera Sterling and Latanya Wilson set the tone in the circle, with Jodi-Ann Ward and Nicole Dixon-Rochester rounding them out.

Captain Jhaniele Fowler made 54 of her 54 attempts, before resting in the final minutes, and the whole team will now be watching the second semi-final at 2:30 p.m.

England go to court for a rematch of the 2018 final and must beat Australia to ensure they are the ones who face Jamaica in Sunday’s goalscoring medal game.

Jamaica vs New Zealand – Starting Sevens

Jamaica New Zealand
GS: Jhaniele Fowler (c) GS: Maia Wilson
AG: Shanice Beckford GA: The Selby-Rickit range
WA: Khadijah Williams Washington: Gina Crampton (c)
C: Nicole Dixon-Rochester C: Whitney Souness
WD: Jodi-Ann Ward WD: Kate Heffernan
GM: Latanya Wilson GD: Phoenix Karaka
GK: Shamera Sterling GK: Sulu Fitzpatrick

Jamaica have been one of the most stable sides throughout this tournament in Birmingham and unsurprisingly head coach Connie Francis selected an unchanged seven from whoever beat Australia on Thursday.

New Zealand head coach Dame Noeline Taurua decided to deploy Maia Wilson and Te Paea Selby-Rickit as the shooting combination, instead opting for Grace Nweke’s height at the shooter.

Obviously the plan was to limit the amount of air ball Jamaica could pinch, but Sterling and Wilson dominated regardless.

The Jamaican duo grabbed early rebounds to show the threat they would pose all day and didn’t let go, until Sterling rested in the closing stages of the final quarter.

The work of the defenders in the Jamaican circle was quickly rewarded at the other end of the field. A first set of four goals went unanswered as New Zealand’s production was littered with errors.

Wilson and Selby-Rickit weren’t found cleanly and once they were found they also had challenges on the spot. At the other end of the field, Jamaican captain Fowler was well fed and forward Shanice Beckford ensured she was a constant threat as well.

Jamaica’s 18-9 first quarter got the crowd going and the quarter only resulted in personnel changes for the Silver Ferns.

Kelly Jury was now in charge of marking Fowler and Kayla Johnson arrived at the wing defence. During the 15 minutes, the reigning world champions relaxed somewhat, but they simply failed to advance Jamaica’s goalscoring rate and trailed 36-22 at half-time.

Jamaica vs New Zealand – Quarter by Quarter Results

Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 FT
Jamaica 18 18 16 15 67
New Zealand 9 13 13 16 51

While Jamaica remained steady and unchanged through the second half, New Zealand shuffled their hand again for the third quarter.

Nweke was brought in to try and change New Zealand’s image in the shooting circle, while Kate Heffernan and Shannon Saunders were tasked with cleaning up the Silver Ferns’ forward movement in center and attack wings.

A 16-13 quarter was the reward for their resolve, but Jamaica’s ability to remain utterly unfazed and secure turnover after turnover had put the game beyond their grasp.

The final 15 minutes were damage limited for the Silver Ferns, while Jamaica loved every second. At 64-42, head coach Francis decided it was time to rest Sterling and Fowler in particular.

Sterling received a huge roar from the crowd as she made her way to the bench and Fowler left after scoring 54 goals from 54 attempts. Overall, Jamaica did not miss a shot on goal during the 60 minutes.

Further changes came from Francis as the final minutes played out and the full-time whistle confirmed Jamaica had made history for a second game in a row.

Now either England or Australia await in the gold medal game on Sunday night.

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