Sport

'We'll be fine'

Captain Fowler says all is not lost as Jamaica face elimination from World Cup

Sanjay Myers
Sport Reporter
@The Netball World Cup
In Liverpool, England

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

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LIVERPOOL, England — Jamaica captain Jhaniele Fowler said all is not lost for the current crop of players, despite back-to-back losses that have virtually killed chances of a podium finish at the 2019 Netball World Cup.

Jamaica, ranked second in the world entering the tournament, have not been at their convincing best.

They have fallen to defeats to fifth-ranked South Africa and 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallists England, who are rated third in the world. Jamaica's victories so far have come against lightweights Fiji and Trinidad and Tobago.

“We just have to stay together as one; we'll be fine,” the superstar goal shooter told journalists during the mixed zone yesterday, shortly after the 48-56 loss to England inside M&S Bank Arena.

“It's not a setback for our programme. We've been third, fourth; we've fought back and we're always getting up there.

“The expectations were great and we have great talent in our team, but talented teams also finish last sometimes so I guess we just have to fight hard to come again.

“We finish off whatever games we have left and regroup and see how best we can continue to keep our flag flying,” Fowler reiterated.

The Sunshine Girls' current situation leaves them requiring a miracle to advance to the semi-finals and securing a chance of winning a medal. The last time a Jamaican team failed to reach the last four of the semi-finals was in 1995. Their last medal was the bronze won in 2007.

While Jamaica beat Fiji 85-29 and Trinidad and Tobago 68-43 earlier in this tournament, they were unable to recover enough from a shambolic start against South Africa and went down 52-55.

Fowler noted that the early sharpness they showed yesterday gave them a better start than previous matches, but she said in the end they ran into a superior England outfit.

“We came out starting much better than we did the past three games, so I'm proud of what we've done. It's devastating (to be almost out), but what can we do? We just have to move on from it.

“I just felt England possibly showed up better than us in some quarters. We just [made] some silly errors and they capitalised on it,” she said.

Fowler's shooting was flawless on the day. She hit the target with all 43 of her shots — the first in World Cup history that a player has been perfect throughout the entire 60 minutes of a game.

The problem for the 2018 Commonweath Games bronze medallists was that England did a fine job of cutting off passes to her.

The Jamaicans struggled to deliver the ball through the cohesive wall of England players and high passes to the towering player became predictable, and some were intercepted by the energetic England defence, resulting in turnovers.

Fowler said moments of the game when she showed frustration were due to her inability to do more.

“If you see me looking frustrated, it's with me. My girls are doing the best they can, so if I'm making errors I'll be frustrated with myself, because they are fighting hard to get me the ball and I need to capitalise on that,” she said.

— Sanjay Myers


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