Sunshine Girls claim World Cup bronze after beating New Zealand 

On Independence Day, Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls claimed a bronze medal for their nation at the Netball World Cup in South Africa with a 52-45 victory over New Zealand in the play-off for third place.

This triumph marked the first occasion that Jamaica had defeated New Zealand twice in the same global tournament, dealing a significant blow to the Silver Ferns, who suffered their worst-ever World Cup result. Following a disappointing 57-54 loss to Australia in the semi-finals, which dashed their hopes of competing for the gold medal, Jamaica rallied and took control of the match against the injury-plagued Ferns, who were among the top contenders for the tournament title.

The defending champions had lost star shooter Grace Nweke to injury during the pool games and then were hit with an injury to Gina Crampton who was forced to leave the game with an ankle injury.

Jhaniele Fowler played a pivotal role in Jamaica’s victory, showcasing her skills by scoring 43 goals with an impressive accuracy of 98 percent. Assisting her, Shamera Sterling and Jodi-Ann Ward exhibited strong defensive performances, providing some consolation to the Sunshine Girls in their overall performance.

Reflecting on the match, Ward expressed pride in her team’s resilience after the loss to Australia.

“We were very disappointed because obviously we wanted to be in the gold-medal match but we had to shake it off and came out here and we’re proud of the girls how they came out here and performed,” she said.

Ward added that the team simply wanted to play well to end the tournament on a high following Saturday’s let-down.

“We, as a unit, just wanted to execute because we didn’t do that very well yesterday (Saturday) so we just wanted to come out and execute as best as we could. Kudos to New Zealand they really put on a performance; they forced us to change a lot of things that we would normally do but I am extremely proud we came out with the win.”

Maia Wilson emerged as the leading scorer for New Zealand with 19 goals.