Jamaica Commonwealth Games stuns Diamonds in thriller

Jamaica’s furious comeback in the final quarter to defeat world number one Australia gave the Sunshine Girls the belief that netball gold at the Commonwealth Games is within their reach.

Led by superstar shot-stopper Jhaniele Fowler, Jamaica came from six goals down at the final break to stun the Diamonds 57-55 in front of a raucous crowd at the NEC Arena in Birmingham on Thursday.

Fowler – the four-time Super Netball MVP with West Coast Fever – was simply unstoppable, scoring 14 of his 47 goals in the final quarter, including five in a row to turn a 48-45 deficit into a 49-48 lead.

“It’s surreal, we didn’t beat Australia at the Commonwealth Games and coming here and doing it with an amazing team, going out there and proving everyone wrong was really good,” Fowler said. .

“Most certainly it means more (beating Australia). Why are we coming down from here? It’s only from here.

“Australia are No.1 and if we beat the No.1 team it means we can do anything.

“We want to go home with a gold medal or a silver medal, but we’re going for gold, that’s always been our goal.”

Jamaica celebrated the victory with a team dance on the pitch after the game, Fowler said: “That’s what makes us vibrant and happy, so we do it.”

This one will sting for the Diamonds, who hadn’t lost a quarter of all games until the last period on Thursday.

After withstanding the first Jamaican charge, they had seemingly asserted themselves in the third quarter with brilliant midcourt play.

Australia’s two-pronged attack of Gretel Bueta (36 from 39) and Steph Wood (19 from 22) did all they could to bring Australia home, but defeat handed the league top spot. Pool A in Jamaica.

The Diamonds will now face the winner of Thursday night’s final preliminary game between England and New Zealand in Saturday’s semi-finals for the right to advance to the gold medal game.

“We probably let ourselves down with some execution stuff in this last quarter,” center Kate Moloney said.

“Until three-quarters of the time, up six goals – credit to Jamaica, but we probably should have been able to exhaust that one.

“When they have guns like them…you never really have them.”

If the Diamonds get another chance against the Sunshine Girls in the Finals, they’ll have to find an answer to Fowler’s brutal combination of size, strength and skill.

As she has done in the Australian league for years now, Fowler did what she wanted on the pitch, with the Diamonds admitting there was little they could do to stop her once the ball got close. of the shooting circle.

“She’s such a target in there, we really have to protect Courto and Sarah (Courtney Bruce and Sarah Klau) in that goalie position,” Moloney said.

“Once it reaches the edge of the circle, there’s not much they can do. It’s up to us to slow that ball down.”

Center Paige Hadley was again out for the Diamonds with a calf injury and will continue to be watched ahead of Saturday’s semifinal.

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