Friday, 6 May 2011

Netball around the world - Weekly Round Up

Jamaica took a 2-1 series victory over close rivals England in the Supreme Ventures Sunshine Series played in Kingston this week. After taking the first match 57-56, Jamaica put in a dogged performance to withstand a final quarter onslaught in test two to run out 55-53 winners with GS Jhanielle Fowler (pictured above) in outstanding form, netting 53 of her side's goals. However, England retained their number three world ranking by taking the final match of the series 54-51. Fowler is pictured in action during the final test match, taking the ball ahead of England's Beckford Chambers and Francis.

The three Jamaican coaches responsible for the Sunshine Girls during the series have now been interviewed for the position of head coach at this summer's World Championships. Connie Francis, Oberon Pitterson and Annette Daly have been quizzed by a selection panel which included JNA Chair Dorothy Hobson and former Australia coach Jill McIntosh and an announcement on the new head coach's appointment is expected shortly.

South Africa's Spar Proteas lifted the Tri-Nations trophy in Botswana this week, having gone through the competition against the home nation and Singapore undefeated. But South Africa coach Elize Kotze was quick to praise Botswana for their marked improvement since the two sides last met. The three teams taking part in the competition have been grouped together with Jamaica in the initial rounds of the World Championships, and were using the championships to gauge how their preparations were progressing. South Africa now return home where they will face Trindad and Tobago in a test series which starts next week.

Pakistan's ANC National Junior U17 championships concluded last weekend, with Karachi defeating Hyderabad 25-18, inspired by a dominant shooting performance by Umama Qadri. Third place was taken by Sargodha, who beat Lahore 12-7. The competition, organised in collaboration with the Australian Sports Commission, featured eight teams from across the country including a side from the Hamza Special Childrens' Foundation in Lahore.

Australian side the Queensland Firebirds completed their ANZ Championship season undefeated with a 69-52 win over the Canterbury Tactix to seal the minor premiership. The Firebirds now move into their first play off series, where they will face last season's Championship runners up, the Waikato/BOP Magic in the major semi final. In the final round of league competition, the Magic were in dominant form to defeat the Haier Central Pulse 60-50 to take second place on the ladder.

The minor semi final will feature the LG Mystics, another side making its debut in the play offs and the Sydney Swifts. In the final round of matches, the LG Mystics were too strong for the Southern Steel, emerging 47-35 victors, while the Swifts stole the final play off spot from the Melbourne Phoenix, with a 45-33 win.

Anna Thompson has been named as the final player in New Zealand's World Championships squad for the Singapore competition. Thompson, who made her international senior debut in 2009 and has four international caps so far, starred in the New Zealand team which won last year's World Fastnet Championships and replaces Cathrine Latu, whose application to play for New Zealand was recently overturned by the Court for Arbitration in Sport.

Finally, the holders, National Insurance Corporation of Uganda, have successfully retained their East Africa clubs championships title, edging out JKT 50-42 in the final. The week long competition included three teams from Zanzibar as well as sides from across Uganda, Tanzania and the rest of the East African region. Congratulations to NIC.

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