England’s netballers made history this week, winning a whitewash series against world number one side Australia for the first time ever. After taking the first test 58-53 in Bath, England made certain of a series win with a gritty and determined performance in the second game, winning it 51-49 after withstanding intense pressure from the Diamonds. The Australian side, already weakened by the non-availability of several of its big names for the tour, had to contend with the loss of captain Natalie von Bertouch due to injury before the start of the first game. However, this gave an opportunity for Queensland Firebirds’ new signing Kim Ravaillon, who has now achieved her first two international caps before taking to the court in the ANZ Championships. The final match of the series took place on Saturday in Birmingham with a final score of 58 -51.
Von Bertouch returned home to Australia and underwent surgery this week to repair the damage to her finger, which was caused in a practice match against Northern Ireland last weekend. The Diamonds captain is now in a race to regain fitness ahead of the start of the ANZ Championships season, where she will once again line up for the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Jamaican shooter Jhaniele Fowler is settling into a new, colder environment this week, after arriving in Invercargill to take up her position as import for the Southern Steel for this year’s ANZ Championships. Fowler, who was one of the leading shooters at the recent Fast5 tournament in Auckland, will have a familiar face on court with her in the first round of the competition, as the Steel will face the Queensland Firebirds, with Fowler’s fellow Jamaica Romelda Aiken as the spearhead of their attack.
Village netball competitions have restarted in Samoa after the festive break, with tournaments being organised on Savaii in Palauli, Vaitoomuli and Suifaga this week. The tournaments are intended as an introduction to competitive netball for players and will also provide an opportunity for talent identification ahead of Samoa’s U21 and National Squad trials, which are to take place in Apia on 8 and 9 February.
Across the Pacific in Tonga, the country’s first “Te Tau Lava” competition will be held in March, on 9, 16 and 23rd. For more information and to register a team, please visit Tonga Netball’s Facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/tonganetball. Entries open on 4 February and close on 1 March.
Victoria Lakshmi has been elected president of Netball Federation of Sri Lanka at its Annual General Meeting this week. Lakshmi, who is also the netball secretary of Peoples Bank and the tournament secretary of the Nationalised Services Netball Association, will be supported in her new role by Shyama Cooray who was elected as the Federation’s secretary.
Finally, congratulations to the Singapore players selected for the country’s U21 side which is set to face South Africa in a series of warm up games for the World Youth Championships during the first week of February. The selected players are: Koh Hin Ann, Nur Aqilah Afiqah, Olivia Chen, Kor Li Jie, Shelby Koh, Cheryl Ann Lee, Parveen Nair, Geraldine Ng, Jocelyn Ng, Siti Nurshawallah Binte Rashid, Farah Shakina, Tan Shini, Melissa Teo, Joanna Toh, Nur Athirah Bte Zulkiffle