Jamaica Under 21 seek winning boost in England series opener

August 08, 2016
Patrick Planter/ Photographer Sports Minister, Olivia Grange (second right), poses with several members of Jamaica's netball team and Netball Jamaica president, Paula Daley-Morris (right), during the Grand Gala at the National Stadium on Independence Day, August 6.
File Jamaica Under 21 captain Kadie Ann Dehaney

Jamaica and England's Under-21 netball teams clash in the first meeting of their five-game series this afternoon at the National Indoor Sports Centre (NISC) at 5 p.m.

Although both camps insist that fine-tuning preparations for the qualifiers for next year's World Youth Championship in Botswana remains their main focus, Jamaica's assistant coach, Tracey Ann Griffiths, says winning the series would be a great boost.

"England is always a tough team. They always have a balanced side and very good players, so we expect a tough challenge and we will be looking for combination plays and making improvements to our offence," she told STAR Sports.

"Winning the (first) game would certainly boost our confidence going into the other games. We would definitely like to win the series, but at the end of the series, what we want to see is the combinations and the other things that we have been working on," she added.

The English also have a very inexperienced squad and are focusing on preparation for the World Youth Championship.

Coach Jan Crabtree believes she will have a clearer idea of their chances of winning the series after the first game.

"If they (players) want to perform on the world stage, they need to play against the best countries in the world, which Jamaica is one," she said.

"I am expecting very good games and we are here to learn. All our squad are under-19s. Two have toured in the last couple of years, so some are in the long squad that we are looking to prepare for the World Youth Champs," she said.

With both squads struggling with experience, Griffiths expects Jamaica captain Kadie Ann Dehaney, a senior team player with World Cup experience, to have major influence.

"Having Kadie Ann in the team is very important as there are certain things you cannot coach," she said.

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