The Sunshine Girls, Jamaica’s senior netball team, has moved up a place in the most recent world rankings and is now in third place, according to the International Federation of Netball Association. The new rankings are based on matches played up to December 2, 2018, and include the Sunshine Series, Canada vs Cayman Islands Test Series, Netball World Cup 2019 Qualifiers in Africa, the Americas and Asia, the autumn Quad Series (between Australia, England, South Africa and New Zealand), and the recent England vs Uganda Series.
The Jamaican team has a 172 ranking, which is equal to Number Four England. New Zealand is one point ahead with 173, while Australia leads the rankings with 211.
One of the major factors contributing to the Sunshine Girls’ rise is the strength of their performance in 2018, particularly the team’s 3-0 victory over England in the Sunshine Series. The Jamaicans defeated England badly in the Series with scores of 55-43, 58-39, and 58-43. The victory over England came after the Sunshine Girls also defeated their long-time rivals Trinidad and Tobago with 61-40 and 51-40 in the opening portion of the tri-series.
Not content with these victories, the Jamaican team went on to win a silver medal at the 2018 World Netball Series FastNet Tournament in Melbourne, Australia, after a narrow loss in the final of 34-33 to New Zealand. Sharmeera Sterling, Jamaica’s defender, received the Most Valuable Player award at the tournament. This was the second consecutive loss at the World FastNet Tournament for the Sunshine Girls, who lost to England in 2017 with a score of 34-29.
The Sunshine Girls took third place at the 2017 Commonwealth Games and third place at the World Fastnet Tournament in 2016.
Photo source: Jamaica Netball