Jamaica’s Sunshine Girls could be forced to make adjustments for next month’s tri-series following the reported withdrawal of South Africa from the tour.

Originally, the series was set to feature the no 4 ranked Jamaicans, 5th ranked Australians and 10th ranked Trinidad and Tobago and was set to tip-off on October 9th.  However, negotiations between Netball South Africa and the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) are said to have broken down due to the island’s rising number of Covid-19 cases.

The JNA is expected to give an update on the situation in the next few weeks with a replacement team being added being another possibility that is being looked at.

The series will be the first for the Jamaicans since the Netball World Cup in 2020, the team is, however, also expected to travel to England, in September, where they will face the England Roses in a three-match series.  The Sunshine Girls had been due to face England in January of this year, but those plans were postponed due to then-existing Covid-19 travel restrictions.  The team will be looking to vastly increase its activities in the coming months with the Commonwealth Games scheduled for next year.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) has commenced its first-ever locally planned and delivered High-Performance Coach Development Programme.

Elaine Thompson-Herah has poured cold water on reports that she is leaving MVP Track Club.

She has described those reports as rumours and said she is on a well-deserved break following her record-breaking season during which she became the first woman to successfully defend 100 and 200m titles at the same Olympic Games.

Reports emerged on Thursday that following her outstanding season, Thompson-Herah had taken a decision to leave MVP and going forward will be coached by her husband, Derron Herah.

Late Thursday, the 2021 Diamond League 100m champion appeared on the Brother from Another show on NBC Sports, denouncing the reports.

"I am the fastest woman alive so they are going to create some sort of news to distract the world so it's rumours of course. I have seen articles in the media that I have died before, more than once. There are always rumours in the media, they are always targeting me, I don't know why,” she told hosts, Michael Smith and Michael Holley.

"It's probably because I didn't show up at practice. I am still on my rest period, so maybe they are just speculating why I am not at practice, but I just came back from the international circuit and we normally get like a month's rest and I am in my second week.”

Thompson-Herah set a new Olympic record of 10.61 while defending her Olympic 100m title and 21.53 to win back-to-back titles in the 200m. She won a third gold on Jamaica’s 4x100 relay team. After the Olympics, she ran the fastest series of times in history – 10.54, 10.64, 10.72 and 10.65 –  to close out the season as the only woman to run four wind-legal times faster than 10.70.

 

West Indies Women’s coach Courtney Walsh admits the team’s inability to properly rotate the strike was a disappointment during the recent series against South Africa, as it had been a key area of focus ahead of the games.

The regional team just managed to avoid being on the wrong end of a sweep, after winning the final game of the series in a super over.  The 4-1 scoreline was, however, an accurate reflection of the fact that the West Indies Women had struggled to keep pace with the South Africans for the great majority of the One Day Internationals.

One of those key areas was putting runs on the board, with the Windies Women on many occasions looking bogged down by South Africa’s bowling, before being dismissed after ill-advised shots.  On four occasions the team struggled to get to one 150, a target that seemed an easy reach for South Africa.

 “It’s a concern, the rotation of the strike, it’s something we’ve been talking about since the start of the camp but it was highlighted much more against South Africa,” Walsh told members of the media.

“In terms of just hitting the fielders and not being able to find gaps, not being able to play with soft hands and we have identified that,” he added.

“It has been an ongoing discussion before the series and it was one area I was disappointed in that we did not try to show that (strike rotation) because leading up to the series we had been practicing it, but match-day when we get out in the middle it wasn’t done.  We just kept picking out the fielders.  It’s the sort of the thing you have to do in 50 over games if you want to really compete and it has to be addressed.”

 

Former wicketkeeper batsman, Deryck Murray, believes the Windies World Cup squad has been picked for maximum fireworks even if they do not go on to win the tournament.

The selection of the final team for the upcoming tournament has caused a torrent of discontent around the Caribbean, with strong opinions regarding which players should have be included or left out making the rounds.

Despite agreeing that leaving Holder out of the squad was a mistake, he believes the majority of the team was determined over the last three months and has been selected along the lines of a certain philosophy.

“You saw the team in various matches around and the Caribbean and you could see the pattern of players.  So, it was obvious that what the team has agreed to is what I call a very high-octane policy,” Murray told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“West Indies are undoubtedly going to be the best team to watch, I’m not sure if they’ll be the best team to support, but every moment of every game they play is going to be exciting,” he added.

“Every player is put in there to play a little cameo of some sort, batting bowling or whatever and it is going to be thrilling, people or going to be on the edge of their seats. To me what they’ve decided is these players are going to give us winner take all.”

The West Indies have been placed in a difficult group alongside Australia, England and South Africa.

 

Former member of the Barbados Cricket Association (BCA) selection panel, Roland Butcher, believes it could be critical for the West Indies to find a capable replacement for retired batsman Marlon Samuels if the team is to have a chance of retaining the T20 World Cup.

The mercurial Samuels played a key role on both occasions the team won the title, managing to put together innings that balanced an abundance of caution at the crease, with scoring aggression when needed.

In 2012, Samuels average a solid 38.33, with a strike rate of 132 en route to the team’s triumph but more importantly top-scored in the final, with 78 from 56 deliveries, giving the West Indies a comfortable win over Sri Lanka.

In 2016, it was Carlos Brathwaite that got the accolades in a thrilling, brutal final-over onslaught in the final against England but it was Samuels who once again top-scored at the other end, his 85 from 66 balls proving just as crucial in the team’s title triumph.  For that tournament, Samuels averaged 36.20 with a strike rate of 112.42.

“West Indies will play their brand of cricket, which is all guns blazing, but let us remember in those two World Cups that they won there was a certain Marlon Samuels who was the glue,” Butcher told the Mason and Guest radio program.

“Among all of those stars there was someone who could hold the team together and, when needed, up the scoring rate.  What they need to do is to find someone to play that role and play it successfully,” he added.

Among the candidate to do so for the upcoming tournament will be Roston Chase whose performance during the recently concluded CPL saw him force himself into the thoughts of the selectors.  For the finalists, St Lucia Kings this season, Chase averaged an impressive 49.55, with a strike rate of 144.33.

“The question will be whether Roston Chase can perform that role to that level on the international stage.  This is the international level with the best teams, it’s not the CPL.  Marlon Samuels proved, not just on those two occasions, that when things were tough, he was the go-to man.”

On the heels of her record-breaking, history-making season Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah is reportedly parting ways with MVP Track Club, just under 18 months after Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce departed to join Elite Performance.

The Jamaica Sunshine Girls are set to take on England in a three-match series dubbed the ‘Vitality Roses Reunited’ set for London, in November.

The teams were originally set to face-off in a series in January but that was postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and strict travel restrictions.  The upcoming series will still be subject to Covid-19 travel restrictions but will be played in front of a maximum capacity stadium, with measures regarding crowd sizes eased in England.

The series will help both teams begin preparations for the next year’s Commonwealth Games, which will take part in Birmingham, England next year.  The Jamaicans have not played in an official international competition since the World Netball Cup in 2020.

The series is set to tip-off on November 28th at the Copper Box Arena, before moving on to the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, with consecutive games on December 4 and December 5.

New England Revolution became the first team to qualify for the MLS Cup play-offs thanks to a last-gasp 3-2 victory over Chicago Fire.

Supporters' Shield leaders the Revolution booked their play-off spot courtesy of a 90th-minute winner from MVP candidate Carles Gil on Wednesday.

New England – 15 points clear atop the Eastern Conference and 10 points ahead in the Supporters' Shield race – entered the midweek clash amid a four-match unbeaten streak against Chicago – the Revolution's longest undefeated run versus the Fire.

They extended that streak in an entertaining showdown with hosts the Fire at Soldier Field in Chicago.

Henry Kessler opened the scoring for the Revs in the 11th minute before Chicago's Carlos Teran restored parity entering the interval.

The Revs and Fire traded goals via Teal Bunbury and Gaston Gimenez before substitute Gil struck at the death.

Nashville, who are second to New England in the east, crushed David Beckham's Inter Miami 5-1.

Inter Miami's club-record six-match unbeaten streak (W5 D1) ended with a 4-0 rout at the hands of New York Red Bulls last time out – it was only the club's second defeat in 12 matches following a six-game losing run.

But Inter Miami crashed to consecutive humiliating defeats in a match that saw Gregore sent off with four minutes of regulation remaining.

Hany Mukhtar's brace fuelled visiting Nashville, with Inter Miami ninth in the Eastern Conference and three points adrift of the play-off positions.

Meanwhile, the derby honours were shared between the Red Bulls and 10-man New York City following a dramatic 1-1 draw.

Patryk Klimala converted a 102nd-minute penalty to salvage a point for the Red Bulls.

Mount Pleasant coach Wally Downes has hailed the impact of star forward Jourdaine Fletcher in pushing the team to the semifinal of the Jamaica Premier League.

Having gone behind in the first half it was Fletcher who grabbed a crucial goal for the team, after being introduced from the bench.  The alert forward came into the game at the start of the second half, found the back of the net in the 62nd minute, after profiting from a defensive mix-up.

The equaliser was a heavy blow to the Stars of the East, who had come into the encounter with a 3-1 first-leg deficit but quickly cut the lead to one goal after scoring early in the second half.

The goal was the fifth of the season for Fletcher, who also found the back of the net in the first leg.

“He wasn’t 100 percent fit to play 90 minutes but he’s an addition to us that you just can’t leave off the pitch,” Downes said of the player’s substitute role.

“So I waited as long as I could and clearly it was the tactical change at the right time.”

Mount Pleasant will next face Waterhouse in the next round.

 

 

Tivoli Gardens soared into the last four of the Jamaica Premier League (JPL) with a rousing 4-0 second-leg win over Vere United at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence on Wednesday.

After a scoreless first leg between the team, goals from Stephen Barnett, Trayvone Reid, Horatio Morgan, and Jermaine Johnson blew the tie wide open, and perhaps at the end of the tie flattered the West Kingston squad.

Barnett got things rolling in the 18th minute when he was served up with a well-weighted cross from Delroy Grey, which he was able to deflect neatly into the corner of the goal.

With Vere pushing to get back into the game, it was Tivoli who struck after catching their opponents on the counterattack. Reid broke away from a high Vere backline before calmly slotting the ball around goalkeeper Shavon Wilson to double the lead in the 62nd minute.

A loosely marked Morgan then slotted the ball into the net at close range after being picked out from a corner in the 83rd minute.  Veteran Johnson then rubbed salt into the wounds of Vere Technical after coming off the bench to score a penalty in the fifth minute of stoppage time.

In the day’s other game, Mount Pleasant also advance to the semi final's following a 1-1 draw with Harbour View to advance 4-2 on aggregate.  The Stars of the East started the game on fire after Oshane Staple found the back of the net in the first five minutes.  Needing a goal to tie the aggregate score, however, Harbour View had a mix-up at the back, which allowed Jourdaine Fletcher to ghost in and tie the game at 1-1.

Jamaican Olympian Toni-Ann Williams is in Belgium to begin studies in Sports Administration on an Olympic Solidarity Scholarship via the Jamaica Olympic Association.

Consolidated Bakeries Jamaica Limited through its Purity Bakery brand is in discussions to formalize a professional relationship with Olympic relay gold medalist and 100m bronze medalist Shericka Jackson.

Former West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels has been hit with charges by the ICC on behalf of the Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) for breaching four codes of their Anti-Corruption Code for Participants of the T10 League.

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