KINGSTON, Jamaica – Under-fire head coach Jermaine Allison-McCracken has blamed a lack of proper preparation, bad timing and the unavailability of the best players for the Sunshine Girls shock 1-1 draw in the the three-Test series against Barbados.
Ranked fourth in the world, the hosts started as heavy favourites but were held to a 44-44 tie in the opener last Friday, won the second two days later 40-34 before crashing to a stunning 43-41 defeat in Monday’s finale at the National Arena.
McCracken, in her first series after taking over the post in March, said the side did not have the ideal build-up in preparation for the outings.
“I didn’t know much about the Barbados team at all, and there is very little footage around and, so you can’t even see them,” Allison-McCracken told the Gleaner.
“The only thing that I could do was to prepare the team that I had as well I could in the little time we had.
“I like to have two to three months [preparation time] leading up to a competition. You can phase it, you can make sure that you have nothing else in the way and you can focus on your netball, so that you can peak as a cohesive team at the right moment.”
The build-up to the series was marred by controversy after Allison-McCracken fell out with three key senior players – Shanice Beckford, Khadijah Williams and Nicole Dixon – and subsequently dismissed them from the training squad.
Their absences left the Sunshine Girls short of experience with the world-rated likes of Romelda Aiken, Jhaniele Fowler-Reid and Nicole Aiken-Pinnock all unvailable.
Allison-McCracken said the series had arrived at an inpropriate time especially with some members of the squad taking exams on Monday.
“There were all sort of things going around … some of them had exams [Monday]. It was just not the right time [for the series],” the Englishwoman lamented.
She continued: “I didn’t have the team that I needed at this time because a lot of the Jamaica’s first team are out or off the island, but there are maybe some things that I could have done differently.
“It is tough at the top here, and so I am going to have to take the pressure, and I am going to have to go back to the drawing board.”
Monday’s victory over Jamaica’s senior team was the first for the World number 12-ranked Barbados in 33 years.