Saturday, 12 March 2011

Netball around the world

Namibian netballer Jatjinda “Toetsie” Kambatuku is to become her country's first representative in an overseas league competition, after accepting an invitation to join the Team Northumbria franchise in the UK's Superleague for the remainder of the season. Kambatuku, who arrived in England this week, first represented her country in 2006 and has since become a regular fixture in the Namibian side, playing in the African Nations Cup, COSANA Games and Nations Cup in Singapore. She is pictured receiving a cheque from the All Nambibia Netball Association (ANNA) as a contribution to her expenses while living in England.

Northern Thunder remains the only undefeated side in the Fiat Netball Superleague, after a thrilling 52-49 win over reigning champions TeamBath in front of a record crowd at the Bath University Training Village. However, last season's runners-up Mavericks are still on top of the league table, having played two games more than Thunder: this week, they recorded a 47-24 win over Glasgow Wildcats.

Scotiabank has this week renewed its support for the Jamaica Netball Association U13 and U16 development programmes with a $J12 million (approx $140,000) commitment over the next three years. The new sponsorship agreement will also cover the development of a new umpiring support programme as well as providing funding for one U21 player in the run up to the World Youth Championships in Glasgow in 2013.

Still in Jamaica, former Australian coach Jill McIntosh has now commenced her five month placement as technical director for the Sunshine Girls. Working alongside coach Connie Francis and assistant coaches Annette Daley, Oberon Pitterson and Minneth Reynolds, McIntosh is developing and implementing a strategic plan which aims to improve Jamaica's performances at international level.

Dubai A turned the tables on Abu Dhabi A to be crowned champions in the 25th annual Inter-Gulf Netball Championships, played at the Hilton Hotel, Al Ain. The Abu Dhabi side had won the tournament for the past two years, defeating Dubai on both occasions but this year, Dubai A were in no mood for defeat, leading from the start of the final and taking the title 14-7. The British School Al Khubairat's U19 A team won the Social Cup title. More than 200 players in 25 teams from across the Gulf took part in the competition.

24 coaches and students from Budehaven School in the UK will be travelling to Ethiopia later this month as part of a Dreams and Teams Project in association with the Youth Sport Trust. The Budehaven party will run workshops designed to improve a broad range of learning and literacy skills for players, coaches and umpires and will work with teachers from 15 districts in and around Assossa to extend netball's reach across the region.

The Queensland Firebirds and Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic remain undefeated at the top of the ANZ Championship table, but the Magic were pushed all the way this week by a gritty performance from the Mercury Energy Tactix, before winning 63-56 after extra time. It was a poignant first game for the Tactix since the Christchurch earthquake on 22 February but the side showed no signs of missing out on training time, pushing the star-studded Magic side all the way in a thrilling encounter.

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