Netball Nation co-hosts Sara Bayman and Maggie Birkinshaw review Jamaica's chances ahead of the World Cup on this week's Netball Nation podcast.
Sara: I think Jamaica have a very high chance to succeed in the World Cup. Jamaica go about their business very quietly and don’t have an amazing amount of funding, so they therefore don’t have the opportunity to play quite as many internationals.
However, if you look at the Commonwealth Games results, I think England were luckier in the Jamaica match than they were in the Australia match.
Really, they kind of stole it from Jamaica, and I think England and Jamaica both knew that. Obviously Jamaica were devastated, but then went on to win the bronze medal match.
The quality they’ve got at either end of the court with Shamera Sterling and Jhaniele Fowler is incredible. They’re both incredible players, and I think teams not having seen them that much pre-World Cup will play into their hands because they play a very different style to the Southern hemisphere teams.
They have a different style to England and South Africa – so I think they’re going to be a bit of a dark horse come World Cup time.
Mags: I know there has been a bit of upset in the Jamaica camp as they’ve had to settle on coaches, but now they’ve now got some of their girls playing abroad.
Shamera was at Loughborough last season, made a massive impact, and was the most valuable player for the year. She only spent a year in the English game, and then Australia swooped in and took her over there.
Sara mentioned their style, and they’re incredible!
They’re very athletic and they’ve got their two strong girls at either end of the court, however in the middle they don’t have that much experience, but I think they’ve got enough to make sure they work the ball down court and get it to the ones that make the difference.
Sara: Because Jamaica fly under the radar, people didn’t take much notice. However, the Commonwealth Games performances’ in particular made teams realise they can’t ignore Jamaica because they’re going to be a real threat – and they’re going to be a threat for years.
Shamera is still only young and Jhaniele Fowler isn’t that old either. They’ve also got some good youngsters coming through in the midcourt, so I think people will be genuinely worried about Jamaica, and it just puts world netball in a really healthy place, where you wouldn’t know who was going to win.
If you put Jamaica against any of those Quad Series teams, and you couldn’t call a winner.
For the full conversation, download the latest episode of the Netball Nation podcast here.
By Kate Lightfoot