Friday, 15 April 2011

South Africa's netballers have linked their preparations for this summer's World Championships with their government's latest initiative, Magnificent Fridays, which aims to galvanise support across the country for the national teams as they participate in international fixtures. From now until the World Netball Championships, Proteas fans are being encouraged to show their support for the South African side by wearing green and gold t-shirts every Friday, following similar campaigns before last year's football World Cup and the recent Cricket World Cup. It is hoped that the initiative will inspire supporters of all ages to get behind the national team as they prepare for the Singapore competition, while events will be co-ordinated on Fridays across the country to encourage participation among players of all ages. For more information, visit the Netball South Africa website at - members of the national squad are pictured in their new green and gold tops.

Jamaica's selectors have announced that they will name their 12 player squad for the World Netball Championships after the completion of the three test Supreme Ventures Sunshine Series, to be played against England at the end of April. World number three England will be without midcourter Sara Bayman for this series, and for the World Netball Championships, after the centre court suffered a knee ligament injury while playing for Northern Thunder in the UK Fiat Netball SuperLeague last week.

Following the season ending Achilles injury suffered by Sharelle McMahon, Netball Australia has this week promoted Natalie Von Bertouch to the role of captain for the World Netball Championships. In addition to McMahon, defending champions, the Australian Diamonds, will also be unable to select midcourt player Lauren Nourse, who tore a knee ligament in the ANZ Championships this week and is now out for the rest of the season.

Australia-based shooter Matelita Shaw Tadulala has withdrawn her name from the Fiji squad selected for the World Netball Championships. Tadulala, who was called into the squad in place of the injured Taraima Rara earlier this year, is understood to have been unable to commit to staying in Fiji between now and the July competition. A decision on her replacement is expected shortly. Meanwhile, former New Zealand coach Yvonne Willering will assist the Fiji squad on their Australia training tour, which starts on 25 April.

The Brunei Darussalam Schools Sports Council team MSSB emerged as champions in the sixth Brunei Netball Association President's Cup Open Championship this week, defeating Ivy League 23-20 in the final. The winners received a trophy from the President of the Brunei NA as well as a prize of $500. The three day competition, which featured 11 teams from across the country, aims to provide increased match play and improve national playing standards as well as giving umpires greater opportunity to experience high level competition.

In the ANZ Championships, the Queensland Firebirds defeated the Melbourne Vixens 57-36 to ensure their first appearance in the end of season finals series. However, with three regular rounds of competition remaining, four teams are still in contention for the other three finals places, with the Vixens, Sydney Swifts, Northern Mystics and Waikato BOP Magic still fighting for points. In the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague, Hertfordshire Mavericks remain at the top of the table, followed by Northern Thunder, reigning champions TeamBath and Surrey Storm with four rounds of regular competition remaining.

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