Trinidad and Tobago goal-keeper Daystar Swift

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER: Trinidad and Tobago goal-keeper Daystar Swift, left, and Jamaica goal-shoot Jhaniele Fowler, during a 2019 Netball World Cup preliminary match. Jamaica won 68-43.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Calypso Girls leave today for Jamaica, where they take on Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls in the three-match Margaret Beckford Sunshine Series, starting tomorrow, at the National Indoor Sports Centre, Kingston, Jamaica.

The series, from October 14-21, is being held in honour of Netball Jamaica’s first president, Margaret Beckford, and features a star-studded Sunshine Girls, the Calypso Girls and a Jamaica men’s team.

Both T&T and Jamaica women are using the Sunshine Series as preparations for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and Netball World Cup in 2023. The Jamaicans also have another series beginning next month against England’s Roses.

T&T manager Asha Legall and new coach Althea McCollin have repeatedly stated that the Calypso Girls are not simply going to Jamaica but will be looking to be very competitive against the higher ranked Sunshine Girls.
The teams last met on July 13, 2019, when the world No.4 ranked Sunshine Girls secured a 68-43 victory over world No.10 Trinidad and Tobago at the 2019 Netball World Cup, in Birmingham, England. The T&T ladies go into action quickly, as they play their first match against the Jamaica men tomorrow, before playing the Sunshine Girls on Saturday, next Monday and Wednesday. The matches will be played without fans but is expected to be streamed live.

Netball Jamaica president Tricia Robinson has clarified that the men’s team’s involvement will not impact the outcome of what is now a best-of-three series between Trinidad and Tobago and the Sunshine Girls. A guest team, the Jamaica men replace South African women who pulled out of the series due to Covid-19 concerns — and will play a match each against the two top-ranked Caribbean women teams.

However, Robinson believes T&T might have a more difficult time matching strides with the men’s team than the Jamaican women, particularly due to the fact that it’s the first time they will be rubbing shoulders.

“When both (Sunshine Girls and the male team) trained together, the male does not always have the upper hand with their fast plays, as the Sunshine Girls can also hold their own. They have been our training partner for many years, and both know their respective playing strategy,” Robinson explained.

Jamaica -- Jhaniele Fowler, Shanice Beckford, Rebecca Robinson, Gezelle Allison, Amanda Pinkney, Adean Thomas, Khadijah Williams, Nicole Dixon, Shadian Hemmings, Shannika Johnson, Shamera Hemmings, Malysha Kelly, Kadie-Ann Duhaney, Latanya Wilson and Jodi-Ann Ward.

T&T -- Samantha Wallace (co-captain), Kalifa McCollin (co-captain), Jameela McCarthy, Afeisha Noel, Oprah Douglas, Tia Bruno, Janeisha Cassimy, Destiny Williams, Shaquanda Greene-Noel, Aneicia Baptiste, Crystal Ann George, Jeresia McEachrane.


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