Friday, 10 September 2010

South Africa and Botswana have qualified to participate in the World Netball Championships in Singapore next year, after finishing first and second at this week’s African qualifying games played at the University of Pretoria. They will be joined there by Malawi, automatic qualifiers as a result of being in the top five in the last World Netball Championships in 2007. The South African side did not lose a match during the week-long competition, while Botswana’s only loss was to the Proteas. Zimbabwe ended in third place, with Namibia fourth, Tanzania fifth and Lesotho sixth respectively.

Towering 6” 5’ shooter Jhanelle Fowler (pictured above) will make her international tournament debut at the Commonwealth Games after being named in Jamaica’s side for the competition. Fowler, who achieved her first international cap in the recent test series against England, is named for the world number four side alongside two other new faces with limited international experience – mid court player Kimone Tulloch and goal attack Anna Kay Griffith. The remainder of the squad features a number of Commonwealth and World Championships veterans, including Georgia Gordon, who featured in Jamaica’s bronze medal-winning team in 2003 and Kasey Evering, who returns after a three year injury lay off, and will be captained by Simone Forbes. Others named for the competition are: Nicole Aitken, Romelda Aitken, Nadine Bryan, Althea Byfield, Sasher-Gaye Henry and Paula Thompson. The side completed its preparations for the Commonwealth Games with a 52-45 victory over world number three England, after losing the first game of the series between the two 53-42.

Reigning world champions Australia take an important psychological advantage into the Commonwealth Games, after taking the first Constellation Cup against world number two New Zealand with a thrilling 46-40 win in the final match of the series between the two nations. Tied at 31 all at the end of three quarters, both teams gave their all in a roller-coaster final quarter but it was the Diamonds, inspired by strong performances from captain Sharelle McMahon and WD Renae Hallinan, who pulled away to edge the win.

Vanuatu played host to the first visit of a delegation from the Pacific Netball Partnership during early August. Anne Marie Phippard from Netball Australia, Briar Martindale from Netball New Zealand and Martin Roberts from the Australian Sports Commission made up the delegation which attended a variety of meetings with players, club officials, local netball associations and the government during their visit. A test match and demonstration training sessions planned for the visit had to be cancelled due to poor weather and a tsunami warning, but these were held at a later date and video footage has been provided to the delegation for comment and feedback. It has also been confirmed that Vanuatu’s U21 side will host Western Australian club side the South East Demons for a three match test series in late October.

Finally, a group of care home residents in England has formed what could be the world’s oldest netball team. The Golden Oldies side, from Warrington in Cheshire, has an average age of 90 and oldest player Olive Cook is 101. Formed to provide variety in weekly activity sessions, the team trains twice a week and is now seeking other care home teams to play matches against.

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