Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls secured a 61-49 victory against Uganda in their Pool G fixture on the first day of the second-stage matches at the Netball World Cup in Cape Town on Monday.
Despite Uganda’s hopeful expectations following their close match against world champions New Zealand, where they lost by only 10 points, the loss to Jamaica was not surprising. Jamaica have already established themselves as a strong contender for this year’s World Cup title.
The defeat dealt a severe blow to Uganda’s chances of reaching the semifinals for the first time.
From the outset, Uganda displayed their characteristic tenacity, but they encountered fierce opposition from the Sunshine Girls. Defenders Shamera Stirling and Latanya Wilson proved swift and relentless, thwarting Uganda’s attacking efforts and creating crucial turnovers.
Initially, Uganda had more possession, but they struggled to convert it into points as their typically reliable scorer, Mary Cholhok, missed several attempts. Moreover, Jamaica’s defense closed down the mid-court gaps, leading to a halftime lead of 38-21 in favour of the Sunshine Girls, who won the first quarter 15-11.
However, Uganda mounted a strong comeback in the third quarter. Led by Margret Baagala, their mid-court players found openings in Jamaica’s defense. Shooters Cholhok and Shadiah Nassanga capitalised on these opportunities, leading Uganda to win the quarter 16-11 and reducing the gap to 12 points entering the final quarter, with the scores at 49-37.
The last 15 minutes saw a competitive back-and-forth contest. Though Uganda couldn’t secure the win, they managed to claim 61 percent of the possession and tied the quarter at 12-12.
Captain and goal shooter Jhaniele Fowler led the Sunshine Girls with a perfect record, scoring 28 goals from 28 attempts. She received solid support from Romelda Aiken-George with 15 goals from 15 attempts and Shanice Beckford, who netted 10 goals from 10 attempts.
For Uganda, Mary Nuba scored 28 goals, while Nassanga, coming off the bench, added 15.
With this victory, Jamaica have now won four consecutive matches, positioning themselves well for a spot in the semi-finals.
The top two teams in the group, which also includes defending champions New Zealand, South Africa and Trinidad and Tobago, will qualify for the semi-finals.
Jamaica have a day off on Tuesday, and return to action on Wednesday to take on Trinidad and Tobago in their second game of round two.