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Jamaica hit back to set up series decider against England

Jamaica forced a deciding game with England in their three-match series after coming from behind early on to win 61-58 at the Copper Box Arena.

Jo Harten was a late withdrawal from Jess Thirlby’s line-up due to an injury, with Olivia Tchine stepping in at starting goal shooter for the Roses.

England, who struggled in the first quarter of their 73-52 victory in Wednesday’s Manchester opener, looked far more assured in London and led 18-12 after the first 15 minutes.

But Commonwealth Games silver medallists Jamaica replied in the second quarter, taking the lead for the first time and by half-time they were up 31-27.

The Sunshine Girls extended their lead to 10 in the third quarter, but a few off-target balls into the circle gave England the chance to narrow the gap.

They did so briefly but Jamaica soon restored their double-figure advantage, largely thanks to the steady and consistent presence of the six-foot-five Jhaniele Fowler under the post.

The smaller Funmi Fadoju did her best to battle the Jamaican goal shooter, but the visitors still had the advantage after 45 minutes even after Tchine’s last-gasp goal made it 48-41.

The Roses looked lively to begin the final period, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis with a fine long pass to set up a goal and Fadoju forcing a much-needed turnover to regain possession for her side.

England drew within two with just under four minutes remaining but were punished for holding the ball for over three seconds, shifting the momentum back in the Sunshine Girls’ favour.

Jamaica seized the opportunity to extend their lead as the Roses ran out of time.

The third and final game of the series will take place at the Copper Box on Sunday, with first centre pass at 2:00pm.