Thursday, 22 December 2011

Netball around the World

England's U17 squad for the 2012 Netball Europe championships will be without one of its star performers from the past couple of seasons, after it was announced that 16 year old Lottie Richardson has secured a contract to play in Australia in the New Year. Recommended by former England coach Sue Hawkins, Richardson has signed with current state champions Manly Warringah to play in their first team for the 2012 season and will be combining her netballing career with studying for her A levels, returning to her home in Truro, Cornwall several times each year.




In Richardson's absence, England's selectors have this week announced their U17, U19 and U21 squads to contest the 2012 Netball Europe championships. Sophia Candappa and Rachel Shaw, who debuted in the senior England squad during 2011, have been named in the U21 side which will travel to Northern Ireland with the U19 squad, while the U17 competition takes place in Scotland. The full squad lists are available at www.englandnetball.co.uk.

Another name familiar to England netball fans is also travelling to the Southern Hemisphere to take up a new role for 2012. Andrew Crook, until recently the general manager of the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague, has been appointed as general manager for the ANZ Championships and will take up his position in February. A former South Australian cricketer, Crook will be based at the ANZ Championships offices in Melbourne and Auckland.

The Zimbabwe Netball Association (ZNA) has invited four of its strongest club sides to take part in the Chama cha Revolution Netball Cup in Zanzibar from 6-12 January 2012. The sides, which finished in the top four positions in Zimbabwe's national league, have been invited to attend after funding to send the country's national team to the competition could not be allocated. Reigning national champions Railstars, runners up Nehanda Nyakasikana, Zimbawe Defence Forces and Tenax are expected to confirm their participation this week.

Jamaica's Manchester Netball Association (MNA) completed its first competition since being reorganised in May, by co-ordinating a rally for four local sides this week. Legendary, one of the oldest clubs in the region, emerged unbeaten throughout the day, and scooped the top prize of J$25,000 (approx $290US) as well as medals and playing equipment.

Fiji's selectors have invited almost 200 players to trials for the country's U21 squad, which will take place early in the New Year. As part of the selection process, the players will undergo rigorous fitness testing as the Fijian side looks towards the 2013 World Youth Championships.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Netball Around the World

Fiji's netballers created history this week by winning the country's first FairPrice Foundation Nations Cup title in Singapore. Young shooter Unaisi Kubunameca Rauluni was named player of the tournament.

The Unaisi Rokoura-coached side defeated hosts Singapore 51-42 in the grand final, to end their bid to take a third title at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall, after the home side took the title in 2006 and 2007. Despite leading 14-11 at the first interval, Singapore found it hard to contend with Fiji's short, sharp passing game, and with a number of new internationals on court to gain international experience ahead of the World Youth Netball Championships in 2013, the Pacific side re-grouped to take the lead 28-18 at half time. The home team fought back in the third quarter, inspired by some dogged defensive work by veteran Charlene Porimah, they managed to close the gap to seven goals, but Fiji was not to be denied the title, and refocused in the final period to close out the game.




Photograph shows Fiji's winning team from the recent Nations Cup competition in Singapore.

World number 23 Malaysia edged out Namibia, currently ranked 24 in the world 52-47 to take third place, while the fifth and sixth place play off saw a thrilling goal-fest from which Sri Lanka, ranked 18, edged out Papua New Guinea, currently 17, 73-71.

Wales sealed a 3-0 series win over close rivals Scotland this week with a 36-22 victory in the final game of the series. Wales took the first two matches between the two European nations 39-33 and 48-26.

As a pre-cursor to the 2012 ANZ Championships season, Melbourne Vixens have announced that the side will play its final pre-season match against the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Bendigo – the first time national league teams have played in regional Victoria. The match, to be held at the end of March, will be the main attraction of a three day event which aims to promote netball across the area while showcasing Bendigo as a possible home base for a state league netball side. Meanwhile, with one eye on the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships, Australia coach, Lisa Alexander, has been leading an 18 day camp for the country's extended U21 squad of 25 players at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

The 2011-12 Jamaica Netball Association (JNA)/Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Open league competition is now under way, with former champions Tivoli Gardens A setting the pace with a 31-20 win over UWI Pelicans. Tivoli Gardens, featuring a host of current and former internationals in its line up, last won the competition in 2009.

In England, ten young netballers aged 15-17 have been selected to take part in the seventh National Talent Camp run by the Youth Sports Trust, which takes place next week in Loughborough. While at the camp, the players will join nearly 100 aspiring Olympians and Paralympians and gain a unique insight into the world of performance sport and the challenges which lie ahead for them.

Finally, following England's success at the recent World Netball Series in Liverpool, England Netball has announced that the eight teams in the Fiat Netball SuperLeague will compete in the country's first Cathedral City Lighter Fastnet Grand Prix, as a warm up for the 2012 SuperLeague season. Played over two weekends in January 2012, the competition will group the sides into Northern and Southern conferences, before the winners face off in the Grand Final on Friday 13 January 2012. For more information, including ticket details, please visit www.englandnetball.co.uk.


Photograph shows Fiji's winning team from the recent Nations Cup competition in Singapore.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Netball Around the World

Pre-tournament favourites Fiji are currently at the top of the table in the Netball Nations Cup, being played in Singapore this week, with one round of matches remaining ahead of the finals series. The Fijians, fresh from their first appearance at the World Netball Series in the UK last weekend, have been in dominant form throughout the tournament, and brushed past Singapore – who came within one goal of defeating the Pacific Islanders at this summer's World Championships – 47-35 in the group stages. The two look set to meet again in Sunday's grand final.

Elsewhere in the competition, with ranking points at stake, several upsets have taken place. The home nation avenged their loss to Sri Lanka at this summer's Asian Championships with a comprehensive 73-36 win over the team ranked three places ahead of them, before defeating Papua New Guinea 54-36 and Namibia 53-43. Meanwhile, 23rd-ranked Malaysia defeated 17th-ranked Papua New Guinea 53-51 in a thrilling group encounter.




Photo shows team captains and coaches at the start of the tournament.

In domestic competitions, Malawi's OG Issa Southern Region Netball Championships have been won by Escom Sisters for the third year in a row, after a final 43-40 victory over Bingu Tigresses. Escom's Australia-based shooter, Mwayi Kumwende, provided the inspiration for her side's victory and despite pegging back Escom's lead to a single goal at three quarter time, the Tigresses could find no way to combat Kumwende's accuracy and speed of movement.

Future Sunshine girls were on show this week as Manchester High and Holmwood Technical Schools scooped Jamaica's ISSA/Digicel All-Island Junior and Senior leagues high schoolgirl titles, defeating St Hugh's High and St Andrew High respectively at the competitions' finals. The wins ensured that both sides completed their seasons undefeated.

Netball New Zealand is also looking to the future this week, by naming the 26 players selected as triallists for the 2012 New Zealand Secondary Schools squad. The trials are to be held in Auckland from 13-15 April 2012, after which 12 players will be chosen to represent their country at the Trans-Tasman Secondary Schools tournament, to be held in Adelaide at the end of May. For further information, please visit www.mynetball.co.nz

Netballers in the Solomon Islands are preparing for the annual West Are' Are Cup “Unity Through Sports” tournament, which will take place from 15-24 December. 15 teams have entered the competition which will take a round-robin format and cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

Australian awareness of netball received a welcome boost this week with the announcement that Adelaide Thunderbirds and Australia captain Natalie von Bertouch has been included in the latest edition of “Who's Who?” Von Bertouch, currently recovering from foot surgery after an injury forced her to miss the Constellation Cup this autumn, is named alongside a host of other sporting superstars, including Australian cricket star Shane Watson and round-the-world sailor Jessica Watson.

Finally, netball continues to enjoy a boost in popularity in the Gulf states, with the Kuwait Netball Association announcing that it now has 150 members at adult and junior level. The 2011 Inter- Gulf Tournament will be held in Al-Ain on the 8th, 9th and 10th of March 2012 and Kuwait will send a ladies' and mens' team to the competition. For more information, please visit www.kuwaitnetball.com.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

IFNA AND AFRICA NETBALL SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE AFRICA COACHING & OFFICIATING FRAMEWORK FOR NETBALL

A team of experts from the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) and IFNA Regional Federation, Africa Netball, arrive in Botswana today for the Inaugural Africa Coaching & Officiating Framework Seminar.

The Seminar is the start of a move to develop and implement a plan to raise the standard of netball across the Region, allowing the Region’s national teams to compete on the world stage.

IFNA Global Development Manager, Sarah Pickford said:
“Netballers in Africa clearly have the potential to take on and beat the best in the world on the netball court.”
In order to do this there is a need to develop increasingly effective coaching, officiating, governance and administration practices to support strong player pathways and competition structures.
This integrated approach is highlighted in IFNA’s new Strategy, Game Plan 2012-2016, launched in July 2011. The continued backing of UK Sport and the Commonwealth Games Federation has enabled IFNA to work with colleagues to explore how this can best be applied to benefit the Africa Region.
IFNA is excited to be able to assist Africa Netball and IFNA Members in working to raise standards of provision for netball, and looks forward to seeing African teams progressing up the world rankings, to compete at the highest level for years to come.”

Member Federations involved in the Seminar include:
• Botswana
• Lesotho
• Namibia
• Swaziland
• Uganda
• Zimbabwe

Delegates, with expertise in coaching and officiating, will not only benefit from the knowledge and experience of the IFNA team but will also play their part in planning the way forward for netball in Africa.
All delegates will then return to their counties and work with colleagues to develop structures that will allow their national teams to perform at the highest level. IFNA and Africa Netball will continue to support this process through Africa Regional Development Manager, Joan Smit.

The work here will link in with and complement the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone VI Sport Education & Accreditation Framework (SEAF) and IFNA will be liaising closely with SEAS Project Officer, Mr Petros Munashe Mrape, to ensure the two projects link together.
Further work will be undertaken at the Africa Netball AGM in May 2012.

IFNA Board Member and Africa Netball President, Tebogo Lebotse said:
“Africa Netball presents great potential to grow the game of netball internationally. There is untapped talent and this workshop is a step in the right direction for Africa Netball to have a standard of how to tap in on that potential.”’

IFNA Africa Regional Development Manager Joan Smit stated:
“This is indeed a long-awaited opportunity for our netball coaches and officials in Africa. Most of the participants who will be in Gaborone attended the International Coaching Seminar that was held alongside the World Netball Championships in Singapore in July and they look forward to building further on the knowledge obtained. We are very excited that Africa will be the first continent to embark on such a project and I am confident about the success and sustainability of this project.”

Friday, 2 December 2011

Netball Around the World

England's Fast Net squad took the 2011 World Netball Series title with a defeat of holders New Zealand 33-26 in the final, to reverse the result of last year's concluding game. England's win was founded on superb defensive displays by Eboni Beckford Chambers and Stacey Francis and strong all-court pressure which forced the opposition into errors, together with controlled attacking work during the power play quarter, which allowed the home side to stretch ahead. Having finished the group stages undefeated but losing 27-17 to England in the semi-final, Australia took third place with a 32-24 win over Jamaica. South Africa ended the competition in fifth place, having defeated competition debutantes Fiji 24-19 in the last play off.

The 2012 World Netball Series will be held in New Zealand: IFNA announced this week that the three day competition will be played at the Vector Arena in Auckland from 9-11 November 2012. The top six ranked teams in the world will once again take part in the tournament, played under the amended Fast Net rules.

More success for England - Congratulations to Anita Navin - The UK Coaching Awards 2011 honour sports coaches and coaching organisations who have demonstrated outstanding success over the previous 12 months. Anita won the Coach Educator of the Year Award last night this Award was supported by Coachwise. Her work around UKCC, continuous professional development and coach research have been key to ensuring netball has appropriately skilled coaches at all levels and environments.




Picture shows Anita being presented her award by Hugh Robertson MP Minister for Sport and the Olympics.

Following England's victory at the World Netball Series, England Netball has announced the appointment of Anna Mayes as the country's new Head Coach. Mayes, a former Welsh international and TeamBath player in the Netball SuperLeague, was previously assistant coach to Sue Hawkins. Maggie Jackson, who coached Mavericks to the Fiat Netball SuperLeague title in 2011, has been named as head of elite coach development.

The eyes of the netballing world now turn to Singapore, which hosts the Nations Cup next weekend. Namibia's netballers leave their country today to travel to Asia and start preparations for the competition and the other participants – Fiji, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka – are expected to arrive shortly. The competition starts on Monday (5 December), with Namibia opening its account against Papua New Guinea. Organisers, Netball Singapore, have announced that the competition will be televised, with coverage secured worldwide through StarHub, Setanta Sports, Astro Arena, One World Sports and Eurosport:
check local listings for timings, and visit http://www.netball.org.sg/competitions/fairprice-foundation-nations-cup-2011 for more information.

IFNA's technical delegate Joan Mills and CEO of Netball Scotland Maggie Murray have completed a visit to Glasgow this week to assess progress in preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. During the trip, which included travelling to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre SECC (where preliminary rounds of the netball competition will be played) and the site of the Scottish National Arena (which will host the medal rounds), the pair was impressed with the progress that has been made in construction and completion of the venues and both are confident that the games will be “fantastic”.

Netballers on New Zealand's South Island received a welcome boost this week with the news that the new Stadium Southland now has a new 60m, 50 tonne roof truss in place, which will ensure that the roof can be completed rapidly. The reconstruction of the Southland complex, home to the Southern Steel as well as key local and regional competitions, was required after a heavy snowfall caused a roof collapse in September this year.

In Jamaica, one of the country's leading schools competition reaches its climax this weekend, with Anchovy High looking to claim its first-ever title when the squad faces Manchester High in the ISSA/Digicel Rural Area Schoolgirls junior league final later today. The senior league title will also be decided today with defending champions Denbigh facing former champions Holmwood, whose line up has been strengthened significantly by the return of shooter Deneen Taylor, who was on international duty with the Sunshine Girls at the World Netball Series in Liverpool.

Finally, it seems that international netballers never take a break from the game, even when on holiday! Veteran Australian international Catherine Cox took time out from a vacation in Fiji this week to provide some expert coaching for the University of South Pacific mens' team, which competes in the Suva Mens' and Mixed netball leagues. Cox, who is resting ahead of pre-season training with the West Coast Fever for the 2012 ANZ Championships season, took the players through a series of warm up exercises before introducing some international drills and plays which can be incorporated into their league activities moving forwards.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Netball Around the World

The six competing teams are putting final touches to their preparations ahead of today's first games in the 2011 World Netball Series in Liverpool. World Champions Australia will be first on court against Jamaica, while home favourites England face competition debutantes Fiji in the second game of the day. New Zealand will be looking to take a third consecutive titles at this year's competition and open their challenge for the silverware against South Africa. Shooter Maria Tutaia has been photographed practising her “long shots” in training this week



For more information and to book tickets please visit www.worldnetballseries.com.

Fiji's preparations for the World Netball Series have not gone as smoothly as anticipated, after the world number 7 ranked side lost a warm up game to Scotland, ranked 14, 50- 23 earlier this week. The Thistles, who are preparing for a hotly anticipated home test series against close rivals Wales (ranked 12) in early December, were in scintillating form from the first whistle while the visitors found it hard to adjust to the colder conditions and playing style of the home team.

Elsewhere across the world, teams are also putting the finishing touches to their preparations for the Fair Price Foundation Nations Cup, which takes place in Singapore at the start of December. Without much international experience in recent years, world number 24 side Namibia has been training hard and aims to improve its ranking to 21 by the end of the tournament. Meanwhile, hosts Singapore have named a side packed with young talent from its U21 squad, which will be led by seasoned veteran Jean Ng (pictured centre) and will be using the competition as preparation for next year's Asian Cup, as well as avenging their loss to Fiji in July this year. The Nations Cup will be played from 5-11 December.

Netball New Zealand is considering a radical restructure for its domestic game to address concerns that money is being lost in overcomplicated administrative structures. The suggested plan would move from the current 12 region set-up to a five zone model, each aligned with an ANZ Championship franchise and with responsibility for grass roots competition, player development pathways and high performance delivery. Members will vote on the proposals at an Annual General Meeting in February, with a two thirds majority required for the changes to be adopted.

Former Australia coach Marg Caldow received the first Spirit of Netball Award at last weekend's Australian Netball Awards ceremony in recognition of her efforts in coaching the Diamonds to back to back World Championships titles. The honour recognises extraordinary achievements and sporting performances that have captured the hearts of Australian netballers, fans, and the general public, and form part of netball’s sporting history. Other award winners at the glittering ceremony included international defender Laura Geitz, who was named the recipient of the prestigious Liz Ellis Diamond award, Australian netball's top individual honour, and Sharon Kelly who was once again named umpire of the year. Two former Australian captains, Liz Ellis and Julie Francou, were inducted into Australian Netball's Hall of Fame during the ceremony. For the full list of winners, please visit www.netball.asn.au.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Netball around the world.

Fiji’s selectors have delayed the announcement of the country’s squad to compete at the upcoming World Netball Series in Liverpool. Meanwhile, in a bid to boost tourism to the country, Fiji is hosting the 14th Golden Oldies World Netball festival this week. Former Silver Fern and Fiji international, Vilimaina Davu, is the ambassador of the tournament which will feature teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Barbados, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu, as well as six sides from Fiji itself. The festival aims to encourage netballers from all over the globe to socialise together, and, it is anticipated, will boost visitor numbers to the country, which last hosted the event in 1996.






Picture shows Vilimaina Davu, Fiji’s ambassador for the Golden Oldies World Netball Festival, in action in the ANZ Championships for the LG Mystics

Singapore’s U21 squad is returning home this weekend after completing a gruelling tour of Wales and Northern Ireland in preparation for the FairPrice Foundation Nations Cup which will be played in December. During the ten day trip, Singapore emerged victorious in three matches against Northern Ireland’s U17, U21A and U21B teams, as well as defeating Wales U19s 43-39. However, Wales U21 side proved too strong for the Asian tourists, winning both matches between the two teams 49-34 and 46-40. Singapore’s squad to compete in the Nations Cup will be announced on 18 November.

Eight teams have confirmed their participation in the upcoming Uhuru Cup, which is to be played in Dar es Salaam at the end of this month. In addition to the domestic teams which have already registered for the tournament, which is being held to commemorate Tanzania’s 50 years of independence, the Tanzania Netball Association has issued invitations to teams from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to take part in the competition.

Across Africa, Botswana’s Spar Good For You Championships reaches the semi-final stage this weekend, with defending champions Tasc looking to take its four title in a row despite strong competition from BDF Cats, Notwane and UB Crystals, which complete the competition’s line up.

In the ANZ Championships, New Zealand’s Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic has startled many observers by naming Australian Netball League (ANL) player Khao Watts as its import for the 2012 season. Watts, who has played three seasons in the ANL was recommended to the Magic by their former Australian international import Peta Scholz, and was named in the 2012 line up after an eight hour trial against other Magic hopefuls.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has named its scholarship holders for the 2012 programme. The holders will experience state of the art facilities and services in a programme designed by newly appointed AIS Head coach Julie Fitzgerald which aims to develop their skills as they work towards becoming the next generation of Australian Diamonds. Returning scholarship holder Alix McDermott has been named for the 2012 season, together with Kristina Brice, Courtney Bruce, Laura Clemesha, Paige Hadley, Lorna Marslen, Brooke Miller, Kimberley Ravaillion, Keeley Rodrigo, Amehlia Schmidt, Gabrielle Simpson and Amy Somerville: former AIS scholarship holders include Australian captain Natalie von Bertouch and vice captain Catherine Cox, who stood in as Diamonds captain for the recent test series against England and New Zealand.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Netball Around the World

Reigning World Champions Australia have added to their trophy cabinet this week by retaining the Constellation Cup against New Zealand with a thrilling 44-41 victory in the third and final test match between the two sides in Melbourne. The victory will also push Australia back to the top of the world rankings when they are revised at the end of the month. Inspired by a dynamic performance by mid-courter Madison Browne, Australia overturned an eight goal deficit to overcome their perennial rivals with sharpshooter Caitlin Bassett once again frustrating the Silver Ferns, scoring 20/22 in the second half as the Diamonds pushed on to take victory.






Picture show the Australian Diamonds with the Constellation Cup after victory in the third test in Melbourne

Netball’s popularity across Scandinavia continues to grow and this weekend sees a Swedish squad travel to Copenhagen to take part in an annual match between the two countries. Despite both teams taking part in a European tournament in Brussels in May, Sweden and Denmark did not face each other in that competition and so this weekend’s encounter will provide both sides with the chance to take “bragging rights” over their neighbours as awareness of and participation in netball continues to grow across the region.
Jamaica’s selectors have named three of the country’s U21 squad in its side to contest the Fast Net World Netball Series at the end of this month. Dhanyel Johnson, Deneen Taylor and Vangelee Williams have been promoted to the senior Sunshine Girls, while Tracy Ann Robinson and Vanessa Walker are included in the squad after missing the World Netball Championships in Singapore. Nadine Bryan will captain the Jamaican side, which also includes Jhanele Fowler, Jodhi Ann French, Anna-Kay Griffiths, Sasha-Gay Lynch, Malysha Kelly and Kimone Tulloch.
World Netball Series reigning champions, New Zealand, have named a strong team featuring eight Silver Ferns as they aim to make it three years in a row. Irene van Dyk, the world’s most capped netballer, will lead the side, while mid-courter Shannon Francois of the Southern Steel is named at international level for the first time. The full Silver Ferns squad for the Fast Net competition is: Irene van Dyk (capt), Kayla Cullen, Shannon Francois, Katrina Grant, Cathrine Latu, Liana Leota, Anna Scarlett, Anna Thompson, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick, Jess Tuki, Maria Tutaia.
2011 World Netball Series runners up England have named a squad of 15 players for the 2012 competition, which will be trimmed to 12 on 13 November. Northern Thunder’s Jade Clarke will lead the side, which also includes her Thunder teammate Sara Bayman, who returns to the squad after recovering from a serious knee injury. England’s long squad for the competition is: Jade Clarke, Sara Bayman, Eboni Beckford Chambers, Sophia Candappa, Pamela Cookey, Kadeen Corbin, Sasha Corbin, Emma Dovey, Rachel Dunn, Stacey Francis, Serena Guthrie, Jo Harten, Lindsay Keable, Laura Malcolm, Rachel Shaw.
With the line ups for the 2012 ANZ Championships now all but finalised, it has been announced that all ten teams will take part in a pre-season warm up tournament which will be played at Tauranga City’s new TECT Arena Baypark from 2-4 March 2012. The ANZ Championships season starts on 31 March 2012 with the finals to be contested in July.
America’s netballers will have increased competitive opportunities this winter with the announcement of a new three month-long competition to be played in Brooklyn, New York. Sponsorship has been secured which will enable the tournament to be played indoors, unaffected by the region’s severe weather conditions, and will feature both senior and junior teams from across one of the city’s largest and most diverse boroughs. For more information and to request an entry pack, please email pivotnetball@gmail.com .

Friday, 28 October 2011

Netball Around the World

Netballing occasions do not get any bigger than encounters between the world’s top two, Australia and New Zealand, and the third test match up in Melbourne, which will decide the 2011 Constellation Cup between the two nations, is set to be a thrilling encounter. With the series tied at one game apiece from matches played earlier in the year, New Zealand took first blood at the resumption, taking the match in Perth by a single goal 49-48. However, the world champions regrouped and inspired by a strong shooting performance by stand-in captain Catherine Cox, overcame a spirited Kiwi fight back to level the series once more 51-44. The final game of the series, to decide the destination of the trophy for this year’s competition, takes place on Sunday. With only a few points in the IFNA World Rankings it is not just the trophy that is up for grabs.


(c) MB Photo - www.mbphoto.co.nz - Diamonds and Silver Ferns in action on the 26th October


There was a shock in the warm up match played ahead of the Perth test, when a young and relatively inexperienced South Africa team, ranked fifth in the world, lost 61-37 to the sixth-ranked Malawi Queens in a fixture to promote the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which was taking place at the same time. And in a further boost for Malawi netball, on the Queens’ return home, it was announced that the Malawi government has committed K500M (approx $3M US) to construct a new training and match facility for the side. Meanwhile, Mimi Mthethwa, has been re-elected as president of Netball South Africa, together with Blanche De La Guerre who retained her vice president role at the recent Annual General Meeting of the association.


The selectors of the All Namibia Netball Association (ANNA) have announced the country’s squad of 12 which will compete at the Nations Cup in Singapore in December. Eight players from the Khomas Region league have been named in the squad, but there is no place for experienced utility defender Wency Katjatako, who missed the final selection while sitting her Masters degree in Marketing at the University of Cape Town. The full Nambibia squad selected (including three non-travelling reserves) is: Penny Amupandi, Dalena Botes, Eve Hamwaalwa, Nadia Janse van Rensberg, Toetsie Kambatuku, Annah Kasper, Delilah Keja, Yvonne Kotjipati, Nalande Mostert, Tanya Mupiri, Eveline Sikoka, Salome Swarts, Golla Uahongora, Ester Uuwango, Susan van Zyl.


It seems that extreme cold weather is not a hindrance to the spread of netball across the world, with news from the USANA that the game has now been introduced to school teachers in Alaska as part of the governing body’s grass roots development programme. Francisco Campbell, a keen netballer at the University of Alaska, took the initiative to introduce the game to school teachers from across the region at the recent Alaska State AAPHRD Convention where, thanks to the support of the USANA, he was able to present practical and theory sessions for those attending. Various publications were made available to participants including IFNA’s Basic Coaching Manual, as well as USANA’s manuals on setting up a netball club and Quick Guide to the Rules, and Francisco (pictured taking a toss up during the session)is confident that many of those who attended will set up clubs at their own schools and colleges. It is hoped that an Alaska State Netball Association can be founded in the near future as a result of this initiative.

With 1,000 days to go to the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Netball Scotland has announced that a series of initiatives to boost the performance of the Scottish Thistles when they compete on home soil. Following an intensive training camp held at the University of Bath – the side’s possible holding camp during the 2014 games, it was announced that Scotland, ranked 14th in the world, will play a one off test match against world number seven Fiji in Liverpool in November, before facing world number 12 Wales in a three match test series in Aberdeen in December. The Thistles squad has also received support and motivational coaching from stars of athletics and television, with Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes and singer and TV presenter Cheryl Baker providing hints and tips for the squad on training and preparation, as well as handling the pressure of the “big occasion.”

Friday, 21 October 2011

Netball around the World

IFNA's GOAL programme continues to bring netball to young players across India: this week the Netball Development Trust saw first hand how empowering the game can be, sending these pictures from this week's game between Sanjay Colony and Abhas played at Tughlakabad near Delhi. A large crowd turned out to see Sanjay Colony take the game 28-1 in impressive style. The Netball Development Trust (NDT) is seeking sponsors for its coaching manuals and rule books which will be used on the NDT's wider tour of India later this year: the books will not only be used at the schools that the Trust visits but will also be utilised by its in-country volunteers year round. To find out more, please email netballdevelopmenttrust@hotmail.com or you can make a donation to the publication costs by visiting www.justgiving.com/netballdevelopmenttrust: please mark your donation “Coaching manuals and rule books”.





Australia and New Zealand meet this weekend for the resumption of the 2011 Constellation Cup, with the victor set to take not only the silverware but the world number 1 position. When the two teams met in June in Australia, they each won a single match, leaving the series poised for an electric conclusion in New Zealand. The sides have two new coaches since the June encounters – Lisa Alexander and Wai Taumaunu, who go head to head at this level for the first time.

World champions Australia completed their warm up for the Constellation Cup with a 45-41 victory over England to take the series between the two 3-0. But they were made to fight all the way by the young tourists, who were inspired by an impressive defensive display from Ama Agbeze and improved shooting from youngsters Joanne Harten and Rosie Allison. Australia will welcome back defenders Julie Corletto, Susan Fuhrmann and Mo'onia Gerrard for the New Zealand Tests, after all have recovered from minor injuries.

As a warm up for the first match of the series, in Perth on Sunday, spectators will have the chance to see the top two sides in Africa in competition. South Africa, who impressed at the Singapore World Championships, will take on world number six Malawi as the curtain-raiser to the main game and the teams will also play warm up games against the world's top two, as well as the Australian Institute of Sport side. While in Australia, representatives of Netball South Africa and the Netball Association of Malawi are being introduced to administrators across Western Australia as they look to increase participation and improve standards across the game back home.

Cayman Islands netball received a welcome boost this week with the news that the Islands' Netball Association has appointed a new technical director, as well as confirming government investment which will improve playing surfaces across the country. Government Director of Sports, Collin Anglin, this week confirmed that the government is keen to bring netball into line with other Cayman sports, to ensure participation across the region continues to grow.

In domestic competitions, Botswana's UB Crystals took an unexpected 53-51 against a weakened Jungle Queens side in this week's matches in the country's Spar Good For You National League. The Queens, who were missing the services of their inspirational captain Lilian Rankgwe and star defender Opelo Setshwano, found it hard to cope with the paces of the Crystals attacking line up early on, and despite a late surge, could not close the gap. In the week's other game, Notwane defeated Doves 51-23.

Leeds Athletic defeated Oaksway 43-34 in the English Premier League division 1 to move to the top of the championship table, ahead of reigning champions Academy, 52-31 winners over Thoroughbreds. Leyton is still undefeated in division two, leading the table, after a 33-25 win against London rivals Cumberland. Meanwhile, Telstars and Grangetown are still tied at the top of division three with four wins from four matches.

Meanwhile, good luck to Welsh community netball coach Catherine Roberts who has been shortlisted for the Contribution to Development Award at the annual Sport Wales awards, which take place at the end of the year. Roberts, who is Welsh Netball's Community Coach for Carmarthenshire, works with local clubs and schools across the region to identify and develop playing, umpiring and coaching talent.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Congratulations to IFNA President, Mrs Molly Rhone

IFNA PRESIDENT HONOURED

The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) President, Mrs Molly Rhone, received the Order of Jamaica at the Jamaica National Honours and Awards Ceremony at King’s House on National Heroes Day, October 17.





In 1999 the government of Jamaica awarded her the Order of Distinction for her work in netball but she has now received the country's fourth highest honour, the Order of Jamaica, for services locally and internationally in Sports Administration, in particular netball.

Molly served as Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) President from 1993 until 2003 and represented Jamaica in the World Netball Championships (WNC) in 1967 and 1975.

Molly is the only Jamaican to head an international sporting body, has been IFNA’s President since 2003 and is the longest serving President to date. From 1999 to 2003 she served as IFNA Vice President and between 1997 and 2003 she was responsible for the bidding, planning, organisation and successful hosting of the eleventh World Netball Championships held in Jamaica.

Molly is absolutely thrilled to receive the Order: "It is a great honour. As I always say, when we serve we don't serve to be recognised, we serve out of love and passion, and we do appreciate it when we are recognised."

Congratulations from all at IFNA and on behalf of Members, netballers, officials and fans around the world thank you for what you do for netball year after year. Your lifetime dedication and passion is a guiding light for our sport.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Netball Around the World

Many congratulations to all those involved in the organisation of the Mission Foods World Netball Championships (WNC) Singapore 2011, which won the Brand Presentation category at this week's International Sports Event Management Awards (ISEM) 2011 dinner. The Mission Foods WNC 2011 beat off some stiff opposition to take the prize, ahead of the AFC Football World Cup 2011, World 9 Ball Championships, the 2nd Asian Beach Games Muscat and Emir Cup 2011 and scooped the first prize for the best use of sports event branding to drive consumer awareness, customer loyalty and establish a positive brand image in the minds of the spectators. And there was further cause for celebration when the WNC was also awarded the Silver, runners' up, award in the Event Look category, just behind winners the UEFA Europa League Final 2011, one of the world's biggest annual sporting events. Well done to all those involved with the Singapore competition.




Picture of Urvasi Naidoo, IFNA CEO receiving the Brand Presentation Award


World Netball Champions, the Australian Diamonds have continued their winning ways on the court, establishing an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the Holden Netball Test series against world number three England. The host nation sealed the series with a 67-36 victory over the young, inexperienced England side in Canberra, Australia's third largest score ever against England, having taken the first Test 62-47 in Newcastle. The final game in the three match series is to be played in Sydney this weekend, before Australia's attention turns to three Tests against Commonwealth champions New Zealand to be played at the end of the month. However, the Diamonds will be without their midcourt dynamo and captain Natalie Von Bertouch after it was announced that she will miss the entire autumn international season with a stress reaction in the sesamoid bone of her right foot. Catherine Cox will retain the captaincy for the remainder of the England and New Zealand series.



Meanwhile, new Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander already has one eye on the upcoming World Netball Series, to be played in Liverpool in November, and has named an Australian squad blending youth and experience to take part in the competition. The full Australian FastNet squad is: Emily Beaton, Kate Beveridge, Ashleigh Brazill, Rebecca Bulley, Bianca Chatfield, Carla Dziwoki, April Letton, Susan Pratley, Verity Simmons, Amy Steel, Vanessa Ware and Amorette Wild. The World Netball Series takes place from 25-27 November: for further information, please visit www.worldnetballseries.com.

The Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) has announced that plans to host a three Test series against world number two New Zealand in early 2012 has been shelved for the time being. JNA President Marva Barnard acknowledged that, with the Sunshine Girls currently in the throes of a rebuilding programme after the World Netball Championships, the Jamaican side would not provide a proper test for the Silver Ferns at this stage. Shooting sensation Romelda Aiken and six other senior internationals have indicated that they are taking a break from the international game and would not be available for the planned Test series. Instead, Jamaica's young players will focus on preparations for the World Netball Series and it is hoped that the Tests against New Zealand can be rescheduled for some time in the near future.

Waimarama Taumaunu has been appointed as head coach for the Silver Ferns for the next four years. Taumaunu, a former New Zealand captain and most recent assistant coach to Ruth Aitken, will take charge of the Ferns for the upcoming international series against Australia, after Aitken was forced to withdraw for family reasons.

The first ever South Asian Beach Games reaches a conclusion this weekend in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Eight Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and the host nation – have played a round robin competition throughout the week, which also aims to bring netball to a new audience across the region. The final will be played later today (Friday).

Former English international Tracey Neville has been named as the new Director of Netball at Northern Thunder, the north west based franchise in the UK's Fiat Netball SuperLeague. Neville, who was head coach at Team Northumbria last season, won more than 80 international caps during her playing career, and will lead the team out for their first fixture of the 2012 season at a new home venue. Northern Thunder will now be based at the Wright Robinson Sports Village in East Manchester, which is to become the new national performance centre for players in the North West.

Remaining in the North West of England, netballers are mourning the death of inspirational coach Mike Greenwood, who died last weekend. A tough talking and skilled tactician, Greenwood founded Oldham Netball Club 25 years ago, and during his coaching career, the club's juniors won 40 national age group championships, while the senior first team plays in division one of the UK's National Premier League. He coached Northern Thunder in the Super Cup for a season, and returned to the franchise in 2008, taking them from the bottom of the table to a second place finish in 2011. He also coached England's U17s and U19s in home internationals and European championships and it was estimated that all matches (if not teams) in the UK Premier League had at least one player he had coached on court last weekend.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Netball around the World

IFNA is delighted to announce that the Mission Foods World Netball Championships held in Singapore earlier this year have been nominated for two prestigious awards at the upcoming International Sports Event Management Conference. The awards, to be presented on 12 October, are the only global awards to recognise excellence in the international sports event management industry. The Mission Foods World Netball Championships 2011 have been shortlisted in the Event Look and Brand Presentation categories.

New Zealand netball celebrated two significant milestones this week, during its two match test series against England. The second test played in Invercargill was the final home coaching appearance of New Zealand's Ruth Aitken – the world's most capped netball coach, while prolific Silver Ferns shooter Irene Van Dyk (39) became the first player ever to achieve 200 international caps.




Having won the first international in the series earlier in the week by 22 goals, the Silver Ferns rounded out a great week with a 53-32 victory over a young and relatively inexperienced England team. Both England and New Zealand now travel to Australia to face the reigning world champions in three match test series. However, the Diamonds will be without some key personnel, at least for the first of their encounters with England, after it was announced that captain Natalie von Bertouch will be sidelined by a stress reaction in her sesamoid bone in her right foot. Star defender Mo'onia Gerrard is also likely to miss the series against England, which gets under way on Sunday, after being sidelined with a calf strain. Madison Browne and Rebecca Bulley have been called into the Australian squad as cover.

South Africa's selectors have named a strong team to face Malawi in the one-off test to be played in Perth ahead of the Australia/New Zealand test match later this month. Experienced defender Leigh-Ann Zackey has announced her retirement from the international game, but the South African selectors have recalled Adele Niemand, who represented South Africa at the 2007 World Championships. Anja Opperman and Karla Mostert are named in the Proteas squad for the first time. The full squad is: Amanda Mynhardt (capt), Zanele Mdodana (vice capt), Chrisna Bootha, Erin Burger, Zukelwa Cwaba, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Tsakane Mbewe, Karla Mostert, Bongiwe Msome, Adele Niemand, Anja Opperman, Nokuthula Qegu.

Grass roots players in England received a boost this week, with the announcement of an additional £1 million in funding from Sport England. The funding recognises England Netball's success in driving community sport participation and is intended by Sport England to drive up participation numbers across the country.

The Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) has announced it will unveil a new four year development plan for the island's netball programme at the end of October. While final details of the programme are still being worked on, the plan will include the revival of parish netball associations across Jamaica particularly in the west of the island), improving the administration and communication for clubs with the JNA and implementing a new coaching programme designed to train as many as 200 new local coaches. As the first step for the new four year programme, Maureen Hall has been appointed as Jamaica's new High Performance Director.

Grenada's Lottysha Cato met the island's president, the Hon Tillman Thomas, this week, in recognition of her achievements as the country's first professional netballer. Cato, who is expected to join the Celtic Dragons for a second season in the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague in early 2012, has used her time in Grenada to coach up and coming players and pass on the knowledge which she has gained during her time in the UK.

Vanuatu netballers are to compete in their first ever national netball championships at the start of December. The National Netball Series will take place from 5-9 December and will feature coaching and umpiring workshops as well as mentoring sessions for participating umpires and coaches during the championships themselves. Further details of the event activities can be found by visiting www.oceaniasport.com/vannetball.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Netball Around the World

England’s new look, young squad has arrived in New Zealand ahead of next week’s internationals against the Silver Ferns. Northern Thunder defender Emma Dovey has been included in the squad in place of Sonia Mkoloma, who is resting after a heavy international and ANZ Championships workload during the past few seasons. The first Test match takes place on Monday, with the second to be played in Auckland on Thursday.


Dovey in action playing for Northern Thunder.


Meanwhile, on the domestic front, squads are starting the build up to the 2012 Fiat Netball Superleague. Reigning champions Mavericks have announced that former international captain Karen Atkinson, who retired from playing after the World Championships in Singapore, is to take over as head coach of reigning champions Mavericks. On the player front, last season’s Grand Finalists Surrey Storm have secured one of the league’s top names for the new season, with the announcement that Pamela Cookey is to join the Guildford-based franchise.
The Malawian government has released K5 million (approx $30,000US) to fund the Queens upcoming trip to Australia. With the Malawi national side rebuilding after the retirements of stalwart internationals Mary Waya, Peace Chawinga, Esther Nkhoma and Sylvia Malenga, the Test match to be played between the Queens and arch rivals South Africa is a warm up to the Australia/New Zealand Test match in Perth later this month and will give the team’s management a chance to assess the side’s potential for the coming four year international cycle. The Queens will also play Australia’s U21 side in practice matches as the young Diamonds team starts its build up to the defence of its World Youth Netball Championships title in 2013.

Meanwhile, across Africa, the All Namibia Netball Association (ANNA) is seeking sponsorships to allow its national side to play a series of friendly internationals in the build up to the Six Nations Championships in Singapore, from 6-11 December. World number 24 Namibia is set to be the lowest ranked nation taking part in Singapore, alongside Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore. With training camps planned for the coming weeks, the Namibian national squad will face Botswana and, it is hoped, Malawi in international matches ahead of the Singapore competition: ANNA’s final squad for the Six Nations Championships will be named in October.

In New Zealand, Canterbury secured back to back Lion National Netball Championships titles when they defeated Otago 63-59 in an all-South Island grand final to the 2011 competition. Ellen Halpenny was the stand out shooter for the champions, netting 45 goals from 50 attempts in a clinical and impressive all court team performance.

Congratulations to Vanuatu Netball Association delegates Eileen Nganga and Aileen Huri who were part of the Vanuatu South Pacific Games team leadership group. Despite netball not being included in this year’s competition, the pair were included thanks to their excellent administrative and leadership skills.

St Lucia Netball Association launched its Super J Vintage Netball League last weekend with a parade of participating teams in front of the island’s Governor General, patron of the Association. The league will feature six teams of players aged 40 and over, and will be played at venues across the island until the end of October.

USA Netball is now able to call on a true sporting great as it continues to increase awareness of the game across America. Former men’s World figure skating champion, six time USA men’s champion and double Olympian Todd Eldredge has turned his hand to netball coaching, and has taken up a position coaching in South West Florida. USA Netball will be utilising his expertise to mentor its emerging national squad players in developing the mental strength and skills needed to succeed at the top of the sport.

Finally, netball emerged as one of the most fashionable sports around this week, with news that it inspired a catwalk collection shown at Milan Fashion Week! English designer Christopher Kane took the game as his starting point for his designs for the Versus range, which was shown on a catwalk laid out as a netball court. Netball skirts, in particular, were used as a basis for many designs, which have been universally acclaimed by the world’s fashion press. Perhaps it will not be too long before Kane links with a sportswear company to create a high end netball clothing range, as Stella McCartney has done so successfully with Adidas and tennis wear. As one fashion journalist commented, in terms of Kane’s and Versace’s collection, “They shoot! They scored!”.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Netball Around the World

Vanuatu's netballers are celebrating this week, after it was agreed that the country's national side, the Vanuatu Lava, will travel to Fiji in 2012 to play training matches against the participating countries at next year's Pacific Netball Series (PNS). Although the PNS currently features only four teams (Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Fiji), a strong performance from the Vanuatu players in these warm up fixtures could see them included in the competition for 2013. As part of the preparations for this competition, Vanuatu's netballers are seeking further competitive opportunities, particularly against visiting international club and regional sides at both junior and senior levels. Interested parties should email vanuatunetball@gmail.com.

The USA Netball Association (USANA) has announced a major restructuring effort which aims to promote development of netball across the United States as well as sourcing sustainable investment to enable the game to grow at all levels. The organisation has scored a notable success already, by placing and implementing an “introduction to netball” programme for sports psychology students at West Chester University. Netball is already included as an intramural sport in Tampa and St Leo's Universities in Florida, and it is hoped that further educational establishments will include it in their sports programmes for the coming year.



After a shortened season in 2011, caused by the timing of the Netball World Championships in Singapore, the ANZ Championships will revert to its usual position in the calendar for the 2012 season. Starting in March 2012, teams will play across a 17 week calendar, with a two week finals series scheduled for May/June. The league's organisers have secured the biggest TV deal in Australian womens' sport history, with all 69 games of the competition to be shown on the Channel 10 network.



Meanwhile, franchises continue to finalise their playing and coaching rosters ahead of the October deadine. The NSW Swifts have announced former England coach and Australia international Sue Hawkins is joining Netball NSW as High Performance Coach. In this new role, she will play a specialist role with the Swifts, as well as working closely with athletes and coaches at the NSW Institute of Sport and state and Australian Netball league teams. For the full fixtures list for the 2012 ANZ Championship season please visit www.anz-championship.com



On the court, the Zimbabwe Netball Association's Netball Superleague resumes this weekend after a three week break. Reigning national champions Railstars face Jazeera Queens in the pick of the round's fixtures.



In Australia, the NSW Waratahs were too strong for the Victorian Fury in the Grand Final of the Australian Netball League Grand Final, emerging 55-46 champions for the first time after an undefeated season. Western Sting maintained their composure to take a 51-48 win against Queensland Fusion and secure third place in the competition.



Congratulations to the 16 teams that have qualified to take part in the 2011 New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball Championships, which will take place in Napier in mid-October. The competition has been extended this season to include four additional teams, with six from the upper North Island, five from the lower North Island and five from the South Island hoping to take the title which was won by Mount Albert Grammar School in 2010.

Finally, IFNA CEO, Urvasi Naidoo, is this week attending the IOC Sport for All Conference in China where she is speaking about IFNA's award winning development programme in India - GOAL.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Netball Around the World

New Zealand's selectors have named three new Silver Ferns in the squad to face Australia and England in the New World Netball Series at the start of October. 19 year old Kayla Cullen , 20 year old Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick and shooter Cathrine Latu are the new faces in the New Zealand line up, while Laura Langman was confirmed as captain for the five tests, while Casey Williams recovers from ankle surgery. Irene van Dyk, the world's most capped international netballer, will be New Zealand's vice captain for the series.




Picture shows the three new Silver Ferns caps named this week – left to right, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick, Cathrine Latu and Kayla Cullen – at the announcement of the squad.


Jamaica captain Nadine Bryan is one of seven netballers to be awarded a scholarship to the University of the West Indies (UWI) this week. Together with the other scholarship recipients – Kera Christie, Samantha Francis, Gillene Graham, Shadian Hemmings, Shann Lambert, Connique Moore – Bryan will be expected to maintain high academic standards during her time at the university, but will be given unprecedented access to UWI's facilities and services for athletes including access to sports psychologists and nutritionists as well as housing and other advisory services. Meanwhile, future Jamaican internationals could be on show from this week, with the start of the ISSA/Digicel High School netball competition. Denbigh, the reigning senior champions, and Holmwood Technical, holders of the junior title, will face stiff competition from the 100 teams taking part in the championships, which is to be sponsored by Digicel for the fifth consecutive year.

Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) captain Janelle Barker was in sparkling shooting form this week, as she led the University of T&T to the T&T Netball Association Champion of Champions. Scoring 20/23 at GS, Barker inspired her side to a 48-31 victory over Tobago champions Blazers.

Still in the Caribbean, Guyana's netballers are undertaking a brief tour of Barbados this week. In addition to matches against leading club sides, Guyana will also face the Barbados U21 and senior teams in a series of games which, it is hoped, will challenge the visitors and assist them with future development plans.

In domestic competitions, the Australian Netball League (ANL) reaches its climax this weekend with the finals weekend being staged in Waverley, Victoria. The interstate competition is a development league for emerging players with each state fielding teams comprising players who, it is hoped, will ultimately play in the ANZ Championships, and possibly for Australia. Western Sting has qualified for the finals weekend for the first time, and will face Victoria Fury in the first semi-final. New South Wales Waratahs will meet Queensland Fusion in the other semi final.

Finally this week, on her return from England's Southern Hemisphere tour, England international Tamsin Greenway will take on a very different role, having been appointed as the first player/coach for Surrey Storm in the Fiat Netball Superleague. The position as player/coach is part of her new wider role as director of netball for the Surrey Sports Park, which will also include community netball programmes and expanding netball's reach across the London and South East region.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Netball Around the World

The Netball Development Trust (NDT) has continued to promote IFNA's GOAL Project in India by attending the Aali vs Aabhas match in Delhi this week. Supported by the Australian Sports Commission, and organised by NAZ Trust, the match was played as part of a six-team league competition which has been organised to increase participation in netball across the Delhi region. Aabhas emerged the victors 9-8 after 30 minutes of play – our photograph shows the game in action. Congratulations to NAZ Trust for all the organising and hard work it really was a great competition.

The NDT is a programme which aims to introduce netball at grass roots level to primary school children living in some of the poorest areas of Uganda and India, in regions where they lack even the most basic equipment and resources needed to play netball. The Trust will be making another trip to India to Bhubaneshwar, Orissa later this year so watch this space for more information on that trip. To find out more about the Trust, visit www.netballtrust.co.uk.



Malawi goalshooter Mwayi Kumwende is turning her hand to coaching, after completing her first season as an import player in the Australian Netball League (ANL). Kumwende, her country's first netballing professional, recently returned home after starring for the Penninsula Waves in the ANL and has established a training programme for primary and secondary schools which she will take across Malawi from September.

Tanzania's Taifa Queens will travel to this year's All African Championships without three key players. Restituta Boniface, Irene Elias and Lillian Silidion will miss next month's tournament, which is to be played in Mozambique, as they will be sitting Certificate of Secondary Education examinations. Six other players are currently away from Tanzania's training camp due to commitments at the country's Military Games, but are expected to return for selection at the end of August.

In Botswana's SPAR Good For You National league, UB Crystals edged past Notwane 42-39 in this week's feature match. Inspired by accurate shooting by Botihale Moeng, Crystals overturned Notwane's early lead and with Thulaganyo Segopolo controlling the UB side's defensive line, Crystals held on to take a well deserved victory. In the week's other match, BDF Cats proved too strong for Flying Doves, taking the points from their encounter after an easy 58-10 win.

Jamaica's Young Sunshine Girls completed a 4-0 sweep against England's U19 touring team this week, taking the final test between the two countries 52-40, as both sides started their preparations for the World Youth Championships in 2013. Meanwhile, sponsors General Accident have honoured Sunshine Girls' towering shooter Jhanele Fowler, presenting her with an Award of Excellence for her outstanding shooting during the recent World Championships, at which she was Jamaica's leading goal scorer with a conversion rate of 89%.

The Territory Storm has taken its first win of the 2011 Australian Netball League, coming from behind to sneak a 51-50 win against the Canberra Darters. However, the Storm failed to make it two wins from two this week, despite leading by four goals at the end of the final quarter, as they allowed South Australia to snatch a 47-45 win. Queensland Fusion remains at the top of the competition table, ahead of NSW Waratahs and NSW Blues, both of which have games in hand over the league leaders.

Jade Clarke is the latest English international to secure an ANZ Championship contract, after agreeing terms with New Zealand's Northern Mystics for the 2012 season. Clarke, who appeared briefly for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in 2010 as a replacement for the injured Peta Scholz, looks set to take over the WD position vacated by Joline Henry when she transferred to the Central Pulse for the new season.

Netball New Zealand has announced that Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic coach Noeline Taurua will act as assistant coach for Silver Ferns head coach Ruth Aitken during the autumn international series. Taurua replaces Waimarana Taumaunu, who stepped down from the assistant coach's role at the conclusion of the Netball World Championships in Singapore earlier this year.

Finally, while many ANZ Championships players are using gym sessions or beach runs as pre-season conditioning training, West Coast Fever player Shae Bolton has set herself a higher target – namely, to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. Bolton, 22, is undertaking the gruelling trek to raise money for a charity combating homelessness among young people, the Ladder Foundation. To find out more about the trek, or make a donation, please visit www.everydayhero.com.au/shae_bolton.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Netball around the world

Ruth Aitken, the world's most capped netball coach, is stepping down as head coach of New Zealand's Silver Ferns in October, and will take up a new role as Coaching Director for Netball New Zealand. Aitken, who took over as Silver Ferns coach in 2001, led New Zealand to its first World Championship title in 16 years in 2003, as well as back to back Commonwealth titles in 2006 and 2010. She will step down from the role after New Zealand's autumn internationals against Australia and England and her replacement will be named in November.




Colette Thomson has been named as coach of England's U21 squad for the 2013 World Youth Championships, and will also be taking charge of the England open squad's autumn tour of Australia and New Zealand. Former international Thomson, who led England to silver at the 2003 World Youth Championships in Florida, will take over the U21 role full time in January. She is currently leading England's Xcel squad's tour of Jamaica, during which the England and Jamaica U19 squads will play three test matches as preparations for the 2013 World Youth Championships get under way for both nations.

The Namibian Netball Association has confirmed that the country is seeking friendly international matches against African neighbours Malawi and Botswana ahead of the Six Nations Cup, which is to take place in Singapore in December.

Gauteng North retained the South African SPAR National Championships title, defeating Free State Motheo 37-31 in an entertaining final. Erkulehni finished the competition in third place, defeating Nelson Mandela Bay 56-44 in the bronze medal play off. Gauteng North also took the U19 and U21 titles at the championships.

More player moves have been confirmed this week as the ANZ Championships sides continue to work on finalising their line ups ahead of the October deadline to name their teams. Australian vice captain Catherine Cox is the latest big name player to switch franchises, moving to the West Coast Fever from the NSW Swifts this week on a two year contract, where she will be joined by promising young English defender Eboni Beckford Chambers. Former Australian U21 star Courtney Tairi is to move to New Zealand's Southern Steel, but after speculation that she would join New Zealand's most southerly team, Australian international Mo'onia Gerrard has confirmed that she will stay with the NSW Swifts for another season.

Finally, congratulations to Pakistan's Shining Star Netball Club, which won the country's Independence Day Netball Championships, defeating Ever Green 27-22 in the final of the competition which was organised by the Punjab Netball Association. To coincide with the tournament, the Punjab Netball Association arranged a series of training sessions at which more than 100 players from Gujranwala, Sialkot, Hafizabad and Shiekhupura learned basic skills and fitness drills, many as first time netballers.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Netball around the world

Many congratulations to IFNA President Molly Rhone, who is to receive the Order of Jamaica, one of the country's highest honours, for services to netball. Former international player Molly, who is the only Jamaican to head an international sport's governing body, has led IFNA since 2003 and was previously chair of the Jamaican Netball Association.




Lisa Alexander has been named as the new head coach of the Australian Diamonds for the next two years, after incumbent Norma Plummer withdrew her application for reappointment after her side's successful World Championships defence in Singapore last month. Alexander, who was formerly Australian U21 coach and Adelaide Thunderbirds assistant coach, aims to continue Australia's international success by improving and extending the country's high performance programme. She will take charge of the squad immediately, with her first national squad camp taking place during the first weekend of September, ahead of autumn internationals against England and New Zealand.



Malawi's most celebrated and recognised international, Mary Waya, has announced she will be opening the Mary Waya Netball Academy from this weekend, to identify and develop future stars of the international game. Waya, who is currently her country's U21 squad coach and led her squad to the title at the African Zone XI championship title last December, will be working with players aged 7-15 to introduce and improve their basic skills and courtcraft.



Jamaican defensive star Althea Byfield has announced her retirement from the international game, following her country's disappointing performances in Singapore. Byfield, 28, was a member of Jamaica's silver medal winning team at the World Youth Championships in 2000, and won bronze medals at the world championships in 2003 and 2007. Former Jamaica captain Simone Forbers, who indicated that she would be retiring from the international game in May has also written to the Jamaica Netball Association to confirm her decision to withdraw from the Sunshine Girls.



Netball Fiji is shaking up its administration, advertising the roles of coach, manager and selectors for the country's international squads for the coming years. Incumbent coaches Gabriel Qoro and Una Rokoura are eligible for reapointment: their current contracts concluded with at the completion of the World Championships in Singapore.



South Africa's Proteas have withdrawn from the All Africa Championships to be held in Mozambique next month. With players still recovering from injuries sustained during the country's World Championships campaign or unavailable due to work or study commitments, Netball South Africa has acknowledged that the timing will not permit adequate preparation or recovery times for its international squad. The Proteas will now focus on their next international match, to be held in Perth, Australia, in October, against Malawi.



In domestic competitions, England Netball has confirmed the eight franchises to take part in the 2012 Fiat Netball Superleague. Champions Hertfordshire Mavericks and former title holders TeamBath will be joined by Surrey Storm, Northern Thunder, Team Northumbria, Loughborough Lightning, new side Yorkshire Jets and Celtic Dragons in the league, which has been trimmed from nine squads to eight for the new season. Meanwhile, former England coach Mary Beardwood has confirmed that she is stepping down from her role as head coach of Surrey Storm after two seasons in charge. She will become the franchise's first honorary Vice President in recognition of her contribution to the development of Surrey Storm in its first two years of existence.



Gauteng North is on track to defend South Africa's Spar National Netball Championships title after dismissing Western Province 60-29 and Griqualand West 61-27 in their pool matches this week. Free State Motheo are also unbeaten ahead of this weekend's play off matches, with the final due to be played on Sunday.



As franchises in the ANZ Championships continue to finalise their line ups, Central Pulse have added another international star to their line up for the 2012 season with the signing of Silver Fern Joline Henry. She will join a much-strengthened Pulse side for the new season, which will also boast New Zealand stars Camilla Lees, Katrina Grant, Paula Griffin and Australian sharpshooter Caitlin Thwaites. However, two Silver Ferns will be missing from next year's competition with Daneka Wipiiti taking time out to play basketball and Leana Leota likely to move to the UK with her husband, who has been signed to play rugby with club side Sale.

Monday, 8 August 2011

IFNA President Honoured


The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) is very proud to announce that its President, Mrs Molly Rhone, will receive the Order of Jamaica at the Jamaica National Honours and Awards Ceremony at King’s House on National Heroes Day, October 17.

In 1999 the government of Jamaica awarded her the Order of Distinction for her work in netball but now she will receive the country's fourth highest honour, the Order of Jamaica, for services locally and internationally in Sports Administration, in particular netball.

Molly served as Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) President from 1993 until 2003 and represented Jamaica in the World Netball Championships (WNC) in 1967 and 1975.

Molly is the only Jamaican to head an international sporting body, has been IFNA’s President since 2003 and is the longest serving President to date. From 1999 to 2003 she served as IFNA Vice President and between 1997 and 2003 she was responsible for the bidding, planning, organisation and successful hosting of the eleventh World Netball Championships held in Jamaica.

Molly is absolutely thrilled to receive the Order: "It is a great honour. As I always say, when we serve we don't serve to be recognised, we serve out of love and passion, and we do appreciate it when we are recognised."

Friday, 5 August 2011

Australia's dual-World Netball Championships winning coach Norma Plummer has withdrawn her application to renew her contract with the Diamonds, after it was announced that the role had been restructured. Plummer, who took charge in 2003 and led Australia to consecutive World titles in 2007 and 2011, as well as two Commonwealth silver medals, was recently appointed head coach of the West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championships, after stating that she wants to return to a more day-to-day hands on coaching role. During her time in charge, Plummer's Australia won 75% of their 89 international test matches. Her replacement will be announced shortly.




New Zealand vice captain Temepara George announced her retirement this week, after 89 test appearances for the Silver Ferns. After making her international debut in 2000 against Australia, George went on to claim two Commonwealth Games gold medals with New Zealand, as well as the 2003 World title. The Ferns' selectors have announced two new faces – 19 year old Kayla Cullen and 21 year old Julianna Naoupu – in the New Zealand squad to face Australia and England in the autumn international programme. Former Samoan international Cathrine Latu, having served an international suspension period, is named for the Silver Ferns after an impressive ANZ season, while New Zealand U21 international Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick and New Zealand accelerant squad member Te Huinga Reo Selby Rickett have been announced as training partners for the upcoming Ferns training camp in September.

Netball South Africa has abandoned using a quota system for selection, but president of the association, Mimi Mthethewa, has stated this week that teams chosen for the country's upcoming national championships must still be a fair representation of players from within their areas, to ensure that player development is allowed to continue. Previously, squads without the required ratio of seven black and five white players, or seven white and five players were docked points before the start of the tournament.

Tanzania's Taifa Queens go into camp this weekend as preparations start to build for the All Africa Games, to be held in Mozambique from 3-18 September. Under the watchful eye of coach Mary Protas, the 20 player squad includes members from Zanzibar for the first time and will be in training camp for a month. They are set to face Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the opening stages of the Games competition.

England's U19 squad is set to tour Jamaica in August, as both sides step up preparations for the World Youth Netball Championships in 2013. In addition to four practice games against Jamaica, England will also take on the best of the island's youth club and school sides in four additional matches during their ten day tour. Jamaica's preparations for the World Youth Championships have been boosted by an increased sponsorship commitment which will allow the Young Sunshine Girls to extend their training programmes over a four year period.

In domestic competitions, Sri Lanka's 20th Milo All Island Netball Championships concluded this week, with Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala crowned as champions for the fourth successive year. The champions retained their title in style, with five teams in all age groups of the competition from U12 to U19. More than 330 teams – a record entry level – took part in the tournament.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Netball around the world



New Zealand's inspirational captain Casey Williams has been ruled out of international competition for the rest of the year, due to an ongoing ankle injury which requires surgery. Williams, who played the 2006 Commonwealth Games final with a broken ankle, will undergo an operation in August to clean out her ankle joint and will miss the autumn internationals against England and Australia as a result. New Zealand will also be without experienced defender Joline Henry for the two Test series, as she has indicated she is taking time out of the game to plan her next steps. The full Silver Ferns squad for the 2011/12 internationals will be named on 1 August.

Optimism is growing in South Africa after the Proteas' encouraging fifth place at the Mission Foods World Championships, with Netball South Africa calling on the country's Sports Minister, Fikile Mbulala, to make good on his pre-competition promise to ensure the promotion and development of netball has a priority from his department in the coming months. The first opportunity that the South African government has to reinforce its support for the game will come at the Spar National Netball championships, which are to be held at the Belville Velodrome in the Western Cape from 7-13 August. 42 teams will take part in the competition, including defending national champions Gauteng North and last season's runners up Free State Motheo.

Across Africa, BDF Cats were in impressive form in the first round of Botswana's Spar “Good for You” Netball League, crushing Notwane 59-19. Young shooter Tumisang Bagidi was in sparkling form as the Cats side cruised to the top of the table after the opening games of the season.

In Israel, netball participation continues to grow, with three schools sending six teams to compete in the Maccabi Primary School Tournament in Tel Aviv this week. The year 5 and 6 competition was won by Clore Shalom's year 5 pupils in a competition which has allowed hundreds of young Jewish sportswomen the chance to play netball this season, many for the first time.

Another shooter, Nina Scirikisuva, was the inspiration as Veiyasana Red lifted Fiji's New World Suva Netball Association Superleague title this week. Scirikisuva top scored as Red defeated CDM, with its international-packed line up, 30-24 at Fiji's National Netball Centre to take the title for 2011. Meanwhile, in Fiji's Suva Southern Secondary School Championships, there will be a new name on the national U19 trophy this season, after title holders Adi Cakabaou School lost 14-15 to Rata Sakuna Memorial School (RSM) in the semi final. RSM will face Dudley High School in the Grand Final on 5 August.

Malawi Goal Shooter, Mwayi Kumwende, has concluded her season as her country's first overseas player in the Australian Netball League, winning the “Best and Fairest” award at her club Peninsula Waves' awards ceremony this week. Kumwende, who is currently the subject of media speculation as to whether an ANZ Championship side will name her in their line up for the coming season, has been an overwhelming success for the Waves during 2011 and the club is hopeful of recalling her for their 2012 competitive campaign.

Finally, Australian netball great, Sharelle McMahon, has a new challenge while she recovers from Achilles tendon surgery, after being invited to join Twenty/20 cricket side the Melbourne Stars as a board member.

Monday, 25 July 2011

Netball around the World

Netball has not been selected as a candidate for the 2020 Olympic Games but IFNA is still hopeful of inclusion in the long term future. Eight sports – baseball, karate, rollersports, softball, sports climbing, squash, wakeboard and wushu – have been shortlisted for consideration. Despite this disappointment, Urvasi Naidoo, IFNA's Chief Executive Officer, remains positive about the game's prospects: “We are encouraged that netball made the long list (for consideration)”, she said, “..and will continue to work with International Olympic Committee (IOC). We will continue to work harder over the next five years to achieve our goal of seeing netball at the Olympics in the future.”

Molly Rhone IFNA President explained "We are in contact with the IOC every year, we're a recognised sport and what we're trying to do is get into more multi-sports events. When you take part in these multi-sports events then more people see your sport. One of the five pillars of our new strategic plan is having world class events, and that doesn't necessarily mean World Championships, that means at a national level, at a regional level so anywhere you see netball it is done in a very professional way."

With many internationals now entering a rest period after the World Netball Championships, attention in many areas now turns to age group competitions. In the New Zealand Netball age group championships, Otago held their nerve to edge past Canterbury 60-59 in a thrilling U21 final. Southern Steel shooter Te Paea Selby-Rickett provided a strong target for the Otago attack which, encouraged by her accuracy, clung on to the narrowest of leads to take the title. The U19 title went to Auckland-Waitakere for the third year in succession, defeating Wellington 29-24 in the final.

The best of Australia's future talent has been on show this week at the Australian 21 and Under National Championships. New South Wales (pictured) claimed its fourth consecutive title with an impressive 48-35 win against arch rivals Victoria in the Grand Final. Inspired by strong defensive work by April Letton – named player of the tournament for the second year in a row – Abbey McCullough and Paige Hadley, New South Wales led at every break and powered on to take the title. Queensland's young stars failed to add the national title to the ANZ Championships crown won by the Queensland Firebirds, and ended the competition in fourth place, after losing in the play offs to South Australia 52-46.

In Fiji, the return of national represenatives Vaiti Waqatabu, Teimumu Moce and Alesi Waqa inspired ACSOG to overcome the previously undefeated Southern Police 30-18 in the latest round of the country's Gold Nasinu Netball Association league this week. Teams for the National Inter-District Championships will be announced at the conclusion of the competition.

Netball Australia has announced the country's first ever NetFest, to take place on the country's Gold Coast from 8-11 September 2011. The festival is expected to feature more than 1,000 players of all standards from across the country, and overseas: for more information, please visit www.netfest.com.au

Tharjini Sivalingam, Asia's tallest netballer at 6'10”, received an award of 500,000 LKR (approx $4,000US) from Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa this week. Sivalingam, whose accuracy helped Sri Lanka achieve 14th place at the recent Netball World Championships, received the grant at a ceremony to mark the start of construction of the Kilinochchi Sports Complex – the first world-class sporting complex to be built in the north of the country at a cost of 325mill LKR (approx $3 million US). The complex will include facilities for up to 25 sports and, it is hoped, will provide access for widows and children of those killed in Sri Lanka's terrorist conflicts to rebuild their lives through sport.

In the UK, the organisers of the Fiat Netball Superleague have received applications from ten francises to take part in the 2012-15 seasons. Hertfordshire Mavericks, Surrey Storm, TeamBath, Northern Thunder, Celtic Dragons, Loughborough Lightning, Yorkshire Jets, Team Northumbria, Glasgow Wildcats and a Birmingham-based franchise will now have their applications examined by the league's six-member assessment panel, against criteria including performance, management, community, commercial and vision. The eight franchises which match these criteria most closely will be invited to form the league – a decision is expected in the first week of August.

Finally, IFNA is delighted to welcome five new Member countries this month. Tonga, Austria, Brunei, Nepal and Ethiopia are now Associate Members of the federation and will be working closely with IFNA's support teams to develop and expand the reach of the game across their countries.

Monday, 18 July 2011

World Netball Champions - Australia



Australia are the 2011 Mission Foods Netball World Champions, after defeating world number 1 New Zealand 58-57 in a dramatic extra time victory in Singapore. The Silver Ferns settled into their stride early on, pulling out to a six goal lead by half time. But the introduction of Caitlin Bassett at GS and Laura Geitz at GK re-energised the reigning world champions and they levelled the scores 46-all at the end of regular time. There was nothing to choose between the two at the end of the first period of extra time (52-all) and, as the tension levels rosem Maria Tutaia, the Kiwi heroine of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, had a long-range shot to take the game for New Zealand with only ten seconds remaining. However, the Indian fairytale was not to be repeated: Geitz snapped up the rebound and the Diamonds moved the ball at pace to Bassett, who netted a simple goal under the post as the final whistle blew.

England took the bronze medal for the first time since 1999, breezing past Jamaica 70-49. Shooter Jo Harten did much of the damage for the English side, netting 51 of her side's goals, and had further cause for celebration this week when it was announced that she has been selected in the Canterbury Tactix squad for the 2012 ANZ Championships – her first appearance in this competition.

Sue Hawkins, England's coach since the 2007 World Championships, has announced her resignation this week. Hawkins, the former coach of Auckland Diamonds, has decided to return home to be closer to her family, and is currently examing job opportunities back in Australia.

Congratulations to South Africa's Erin Burger, who was named the player of the tournament, topping the “player of the match” awards voting. Her side ended the tournament in fifth place, after defeating Malawi 52-50 to reclaim the Protea's position as the best side in Africa.

Northern Ireland, the surprise package of the competition, finished in the top eight for the first time, and is now looking to continue that improvement by advertising for a full time coach for the first time in Netball Northern Ireland's history. Interested applicants should email netballni@btconnect.com for more information.

The immediate aftermath of Australia's back to back World Championships wins has been a huge surge in ticket sales for the autumn international between the Diamonds and the Silver Ferns. 5,000 tickets for the international between the two sides to be played in Perth sold out in under a day, and tickets for the games in Adelaide and Melbourne, as well as for the matches against England in Newcastle, Canberra and Sydney are also selling extremely fast.

In other news, the Tanzania Netball League is now under way, with Jeshi Stars setting the pace at the top of the table. The Tanzanian squad to contest the All Africa Games in September will be named at the end of the league competition with the Taifa Queens then starting a two week long residential training camp as part of their preparations for the Games.