Friday, 26 November 2010


Heather Crouch MBE, one of England Netball’s most significant leaders of the past 40 years, has died following an 18 month battle with a brain tumour. She was 61. Head England coach during the 1980s, Heather was described as a “coach before her time” for her introduction of new training regimes and sports science support which changed the way which athletes approached the game. Her 40 year career spanned coaching, coach education and furthering the role of netball in the wider sporting agenda via lobbying and membership of several national sporting boards. In addition to creating Coaching Award programmes and the UK Coaching Certificate, she was named British National Association of National Coaches “Coach of the Year” in 1989 – the same year in which her highly influential book “Coaching Netball” was published. She was appointed Chair of Sports Coach UK in 2008, and also served for many years as Vice Chair of England Netball, as well as Chair of Netball South West, driving the region to deliver far in excess of any other region in the UK. A tribute page has been set up on the Netball South West website at and a memorial celebration will be held in the New Year in the Taunton area.

New Zealand’s young Fastnet Ferns side triumphed at last weekend’s World Netball Series (WNS) competition in Liverpool, defeating an experienced England line up 28-26 in the final to successfully defend their WNS title. Despite a loss to Australia in their opening game of the competition, as well as suffering a scare against Malawi, the Kiwi side (a mix of fringe Silver Ferns and age group players) soon found its feet and held off a spirited challenge from Jamaica in the semi-finals to emerge 29-28 winners. England defeated the young Australia side, comprising many emerging players, 26-25 in the other semi final. And there was further disappointment for the Australians in the 3rd / 4th play off, in which they lost a thrilling match to Jamaica 30-29.

The Pakistan Olympic Association and KPK Olympic Association have announced that netball for both men and women will be included in the 31st National Games 2010, to be held from 25-31 December in Peshawar. Teams taking part include Army, Police, Navy, Railways, Wapda, Sindh, Punjab, KPK, Baluchistan and Islamabad.

The Botswana Netball Association (BONA) in conjuction with Spar Group will host the finals of the 2010 Spar 'Good for you' Netball League this weekend. The finals will feature Botswana's top four teams: BDF Cats, Notwane & UB Crystals from the South Zone and TASC from the Northern Zone, who will be competing for a prize of P15,000 (approx $2,200 US) and a perpetual trophy.

Defending champions the University of the West Indies are among six Jamaican teams travelling to Florida this weekend to take part in the Florida Netball Classics competition. The Jamaican teams will face sides from across the Caribbean as well as America in the two day competition, which offers a cash prize to the winners.

Finally, in Scotland, Shetland Ladies Netball Association has announced that, as part of the 30th anniversary celebrations for the senior intercounty fixture between Shetland and Orkney, a friendly veterans’ game will take place on 5 March 2011 in Kirkwall, to coincide with the annual interisland fixture. Any player aged 40 or over who has played in a previous intercounty fixture and is interested in taking part should contact Andrea Tait on +44 1595 695195 before 3 December for further information.

Friday, 12 November 2010


New Zealand has closed the gap on world number 1 Australia to just five points in the latest World Rankings released by IFNA this week. The move comes as a result of the Silver Ferns’ thrilling double overtime win against the Diamonds in the final of the Commonwealth Games in Delhi. Barbados moves into 10th place, while the Cook Islands drop to 11th. Lesotho and India, both of which have a nil rating, are in joint 25th place. For further information and the full world rankings please visit the IFNA page.

Preparations are now being finalised for the second World Netball Series (WNS) to be held in Liverpool, UK from 19-21 November 2010. Tickets are still available via website

Host nation England this week announced its squad for the competition, to be captained by Karen Atkinson, with a mixture of young talent and experienced internationals. England’s full squad is: Karen Atkinson (capt), Eboni Beckford Chambers, Louisa Brownfield, Pamela Cookey, Sasha Corbin, Rachel Dunn, Stacey Francis, Tamsin Greenway, Serena Guthrie, Jo Harten, Lindsay Keable, Sonia Mkoloma (pictured above last year)

Nine of the Jamaican squad which took the silver medal in the inaugural WNS competition have been named in the Sunshine Girls line up for this year’s tournament, with defender Althea Byfield and shooters Jodi-Ann Ffrench-Kentish (returning after a four year absence from the international game) and Jhanielle Fowler the new names in the side. The team, to be captained by veteran shooter Simone Forbes, also includes Nicole Aiken-Pinnock, Nadine Bryan, Sasher-Gaye Henry, Malysha Kelly, Sasha-Gay Lynch, Tracy-Ann Robinson, Paula Thompson and Vanessa Walker.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s Proteas complete a four day training camp this weekend, ahead of the country’s first appearance in the WNS and will travel to England for acclimatisation early next week. And Malawi’s Queens leave home on Sunday 14th November, with veteran shooter Mary Waya once again set to entertain the crowds with her unique style of play.

During the three day competition, spectators are asked to bring any unwanted netball kit or equipment to donate to players in Africa, through a kit amnesty organised by the Netball Development Trust. Volunteers will be located throughout the competition venue to collect any donations, which the trust will then distribute across the continent to help emerging players.

Finally, Singapore’s squad has started its preparations for the Fairprice Foundation Nations Cup, which will be held from 6-12 December, with intensive coaching from Australian greats Vicki Wilson and Jill McIntosh. The pair has conducted clinics and position-specific training with the 18 player Singapore squad (ranked 19th in the world), which will face Scotland (world number 16), Wales (17), Tanzania (21), Namibia (24) and India (25) during the six day competition.

Friday, 5 November 2010


Former international captain and coach Oberon Pitterson (pictured above) is one of three coaches appointed this week by the Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) to join the coaching staff for the island’s Sunshine Girls coaching staff. Working alongside her will be national Under 21 coach C Lloyd Walker and national Under 16 assistant coach Minetth Reynolds. These three will report to former Australian coach Jill McIntosh, who has been appointed technical director to the JNA, and will work alongside senior coach Connie Francis to provide specific individual coaching to selected players.

Netball Australia has named shooter Kate Beveridge as her country’s captain for the upcoming World Netball Series in Liverpool. Beveridge, 25, has 11 international test caps and narrowly missed out on selection for the Delhi Commonwealth Games. Centre courter Madison Browne has been named as vice captain, with Erin Bell and Amy Steel the other members of the leadership group for the Australian squad of emerging talent that will take part in the three day tournament, which has an average age of 21. Sharelle McMahon and Natalie Von Bertouch, who were captain and vice captain for Australia at the Commonwealth Games, have been rested along with the remaining members of the squad which participated in the Delhi competition.

Meanwhile, South Africa coach Carin Strauss will be without six key players when the Proteas travel to England for the FastNet series later this month. Captain Liezel Wium and Precious Mthembu will miss the competition due to injury, while Zanele Mdodana, Nthabiseng Moabi, Leigh- Ann Zackey and Christine Markgraaf are unable to travel due to work commitments. The news leaves Strauss with only six players from the squad which took part in the Commonwealth Games. The additional spots for the Liverpool tournament will be filled by players from South Africa’s extended national training squad.

The Pakistan Netball Federation has announced that Umama Qadri has been honoured by the country’s Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani with the Prime Minister’s Excellency Award for her performances in international competition. Qadri, a member of the gold medal winning side at the 2010 Pakistan Netball Championships as well as part of Pakistan’s national squad, was shortlisted along with many of the country’s other young sportspeople, and is the first netballer to receive this award. Congratulations to her.