Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Netball around the world

Mwawi Kumwenda (pictured above winning the World Netball Series 2009 Player of the Series Award) will become the first Malawian netballer to play overseas when she joins Australian club side Peninsula Waves at the end of this month. And she completed her domestic season in fine style last weekend, helping Escom Sisters take Malawi's OG Issa Blantyre and Districts league title thanks to a 36-26 victory over Bingu Tigresses. Kumwenda was also named the best shooter in the competition.

Meanwhile, delegates from IFNA have this week visited Sydney to assess the country's bid to host the 2015 World Netball Championships. Led by IFNA president Molly Rhone, the delegation met representatives of key stakeholders involved in Australia's bid to host the competition, including Netball Australia, the New South Wales government, Sydney Olympic Park Authority and Events NSW. The IFNA board will meet and discuss the submissions from Sydney and Manchester, the other city competing for the right to host the competition, in March.

In Jamaica, the inaugural JNA Fast Net competition play offs are now underway, to identify the four teams to take part in the tournament which will take place this weekend. The four semi finalists from Group B of the Jamaican Open league will face the four bottom sides of the elite Group A league to identify the strongest teams who will move through to the main Fast Net competition. Meanwhile, the country's top two club sides, Jamalco and Tivoli A, will meet each other in competition for the first time this season when they meet in the JNBS/Jamaica Netball Association Group A Open league this week. Both sides are undefeated after six rounds of matches.

Former Silver Fern Marg Foster has been appointed as head coach for the Cook Islands national development squad. Foster was previously assistant coach for the Southern Steel in the ANZ Championships and was recently appointed as the assistant coach for the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic squad, working alongside head coach Noelene Taurua. A key part of her new role will involve mentoring the Islands' Rarotonga-based assistant and apprentice coaches, as the Cook Islands works towards fielding a higher percentage of locally based players in the country's national teams.

The new season of the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague is under way, with the first round of matches now completed. Reigning champions Team Bath are yet to start the defence of their title, but last season's runners up, Mavericks, lost 44-39 to a revitalised Northern Thunder squad. Surrey Storm, the side which ended the regular season in 2010 undefeated, beat Northumbria 58-32 while Leeds Carnegie were too strong for Celtic Dragons 53-42 and Loughborough Lightning overwhelmed Glasgow Wildcats 68-26.

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