Friday, 1 April 2011

Netball around the World

The Australian Diamonds' preparations to defend their World Championship crown in Singapore suffered a serious set back this week, after inspirational captain Sharelle McMahon suffered a suspected ruptured Achilles tendon in the ANZ Championships. McMahon, 34, who currently holds 118 international caps, was carried from the court with three minutes to play in the Melbourne Vixens match against the Queensland Firebirds and is set for scans and possible surgery today (Friday).
Picture shows Sharelle McMahon in action, winning her 100th international cap for Australia against New Zealand.

In the ANZ Championship, the Queensland Firebirds maintained their undefeated record for the 2011 season, defeating the Vixens 52-42. The First Windows Waikato/BOP Magic cemented their second position in the table with a thrilling 42-41 victory against the West Coast Fever. Meanwhile, the Canterbury Tactix overcame the emotion of returning to their Christchurch home court for the first time since February's earthquake to score a gritty 49-44 win against the Southern Steel.

Christchurch netballers were given a boost this week by a fundraising initiative organised jointly by ANZA and Netball Singapore. More than 260 children aged 6-13 attended the event, which included coaching and a demonstration match by players currently participating in the country's Netball Superleague. More than S$2,200 was collected to be donated to Netball Christchurch for their rebuilding programme.

In the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague, Northern Thunder lost for the first time this season, going down 50-46 to former champions Hertfordshire Mavericks. Meanwhile, reigning champions TeamBath lost 50-52 to a spirited Loughborough Lightning performance, which leaves the West Country side in fourth place in the league, behind Mavericks, Thunder and Surrey Storm – 61-46 victors against Leeds Carnegie.

Singapore's national squad will travel to Botswana in April for a week-long series of matches against some of Africa's best sides. In addition to the home nation, Singapore will face South Africa and Malawi, while the visit will enable coach Kate Carpenter to finalise her selections for the World Championships.

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls took the third match of their series against Trinidad and Tobago 52-26 to complete a 3-0 victory over their neighbours. Jamaican selectors are now expected to review performances across the series before naming the country's World Championships squad this weekend.

Netball continues to grow in popularity in Sri Lanka, and this week saw the conclusion of the country's International Schools Netball Competition. Gateway College emerged victorious in the O15 section, defeating Asian International School 19-8 in the final.

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