Friday, 21 January 2011
Netball around the World
New Zealanders will wake up tomorrow to discover that their national netball team, the Silver Ferns, has replaced Australia at the top of the world rankings for the first time since IFNA introduced the new ratings system in 2007. After a hard fought 3-0 series win over England this week. A single point separates the Silver Ferns from reigning world champions Australia who move down to second place after their series with Jamaica ended with one match apiece and one match drawn (The Diamonds taking the series officially on goal difference).
New Zealand took the first Test against England 42-40 and second 41-39, despite failing to show the class which brought them the Commonwealth Games title in Delhi last year. England will be disappointed to have let slip a potentially match-winning lead in the third Test, having left the court at half time 19-16 up, before allowing the Silver Ferns to regroup and take the match 47-40.
Diamonds coach Norma Plummer juggled her line up once more for the second Test against Jamaica in Kingston to test combinations ahead of the World Championships, but the Diamonds did not play with their usual consistency as a result, and the match ended in a 49-all draw. The final game of the series, played in front of a packed house at the National Indoor Sports Centre, saw the Sunshine Girls, in inspired form, take the match 54-51 and tie the series. With this win the Sunshine Girls have closed the gap between England and Jamaica and with the World Netball Championships in Singapore fast approaching there is everything to play for.
For the full list of up to date world rankings, please visit the IFNA section of the website - www.netball.org
Tanzania's netball association, CHANETA, has confirmed that a second division of its national league will be set up this season, to provide a development pathway for players into the country's national league. Seven teams have already confirmed their participation for the coming season, and it is hoped that more will enter before the league's February deadline and encourage increased competition, thus encouraging competition and raising playing standards.
The 32 members of Fiji's national squad have completed a rigorous fitness Test this week, ahead of trials for the Pacific Games and World Championships, which take place later on this year. National team manager Asenaca Waqanivavalagi confirmed that results from the Test will be compared with those from Tests undertaken in November, to assess players' levels of training and performance as part of the national team selection process for the two competitions.
With the start of the new season less than a month away, the organisers of the ANZ Championships have announced OfficeMax as the league's new associate sponsor. The two year agreement will see OfficeMax sit alongside Holden as a major partner for the league in both Australia and New Zealand.
Finally, the board of Netball Queensland has set up a relief fund to assist all those affected by the devastating floods across the area, with an initial donation of $10,000AU. The Queensland Academy of Sport, used by the Firebirds as a training base for the ANZ Championships, has been turned into a flood relief centre: the Firebirds have announced that they will be fundraising for those affected by the disaster at their first home game of the season, against the New South Wales Swifts on 21 February 2011. For more information, and to make a donation to the relief fund, please visit www.anz-championship.com.