Friday, 3 September 2010

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have unveiled a new trophy, the Constellation Cup, which will be awarded each year to the country that wins the most international tests between the Australian Diamonds and the New Zealand Silver Ferns. Designed and made by artists on both sides of the Tasman, the trophy will be presented for the first time by Sir Anand Satyanand, New Zealand’s Governor General, at the conclusion of the third test of this year’s series between the two nations in Auckland on Sunday, 5 September. Picture shows Sharelle McMahon (Australia) and Casey Williams (NZ) with the new Constellation Cup

The teams go into the third test tied at one match each. Australia held their nerve and their form to come from behind and edge past the Ferns in the first test, played in Adelaide, winning 48-43. However, the Ferns stormed out of the blocks at the start of the second game of the series, and could not be caught, taking a relatively easy win 59-40.

Coaching arrangements for Tanzania’s Taifa Queens remain uncertain as former Australian international Simone McKinnis has still not had her appointment as national coach confirmed. Despite receiving the sanction of the Tanzanian president, McKinnis has not yet received her contract and written confirmation of her new role. The team had hoped she would be in place to train the side ahead of the Africa Netball Championships, which take place from 5-12 September in South Africa, which will act as the regional qualification tournament for the 2011 World Netball Championships.

The Africa Netball Championships sees a record 11 countries fighting for 2 places to the WNC2011: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Malawi has already qualified for WNC2011.

IFNA and Africa Netball are taking the opportunity of the Regional Tournament to run some workshops for the African Members. IFNA Global Development Manager, Sarah Pickford and long standing supporter of Africa, Liz Broomhead are heading out to Johannesburg. The workshops will be chaired by IFNA Africa Regional Development Manager, Joan Smit and delegates from all the African countries above will be in attendance.

Netball continues to expand in northern Europe, with the first Stockholm International tournament taking place last week. Eight teams from Belgium, Denmark, Sweden and Switzerland took part, with Copehnhagen Netball Club finishing the tournament undefeated, with a convincing 24-4 win over Stockholm in the Grand Final. Congratulations to all those who took part.

Reigning world champions, the Australian Diamonds announced their Commonwealth Games squad this week, with three players – Kate Beveridge, Madison Browne and Amy Steel - dropped from the group which contested test matches against Jamaica last month. The Australian squad is: Sharelle McMahon (captain), Rebecca Bulley, Catherine Cox, Susan Fuhrmann, Laura Geitz, Renae Hallinan, Mo’onia Gerrard, Kimberlee Green, Natalie Medhurst, Lauren Nourse, Susan Pratley, Natalie von Bertouch.

The Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) has celebrated two new sponsorship agreements this week, the first a J$1million agreement with Pepsi-Cola Jamaica, through its Gatorade Brand: the deal also includes provision of Gatorade and Aqua Essential water for the team’s training camps and tournaments, as well as assisting with the construction of a study room at the JNA training house. Local light and power company Jamaica Public Service (JPS) has also donated a team bus to the Association, to be used to transport the teams from training sessions and matches in their build up to the 2011 World Championships and beyond.

The team bus was used for the first time this week, to take the Sunshine Girls to the first match in the Sunshine Series, against world number three England, as both teams continue their build ups towards the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Despite trying several new combinations, the Jamaicans could not match the pace and consistency of the English visitors, with England easing through to a 53-42 victory. The second match between the two takes place this evening (Friday).

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