Friday, 20 May 2011

Netball around the world - Weekly Round Up

Fiji's selectors have named three new caps in the country's squad for the Pacific Series and the World Netball Championships in July. Elenoa Vatureba, Afa Rusivakula and Makelesi Mulevoro are included in the national squad for the first time, while Matila Waqanidrola will captain the team. Seruwaia Vonolagi has been named vice captain. The remainder of the squad comprises Luse Kotobalavu, Maria Lutua, Teimumu Moce, Simione Nalatu, Mere Rabuka and Vaiti Waqatabu.

South Africa's Proteas overcame a seven goal defecit to take the final test against Trinidad and Tobago 55-47 and take the series between the two teams 3-0. The introduction of Gauteng North goalkeeper Vanes-Mari du Toit at the start of the third quarter provided the impetus which inspired the home team to make three quick interceptions from the whistle, which were converted with ease and having drawn level, the Proteas were then able to move ahead thanks to some accurate shooting from Claudia Basson and Christina Anna Bootha. South Africa won the first test 57-38 and the second 60-52.

In Swaziland, more than 20 candidates are taking part in a four day umpiring course, run by England's Heather Gleadall. The National Netball Association of Swaziland has co-ordinated the course with the aim of improving the standard of officiating across the country and all the candidates will be assessed on the final day of the course in competitive situations.

Seven players have been shortlisted for the UK's Fiat Superleague player of the year. Grenada's Lottysha Cato, who has made a huge impact on the competition in her first year as part of the Celtic Dragons line up, has been included in the list, along with current holder of the title Pamela Cookey. Former England captain Olivia Murphy has been named, following an excellent season as player-coach for Loughborough Lightning. Other players in contention are Sara Bayman (Northern Thunder), Stacey Francis (TeamBath), Tamsin Greenway (Surrey Storm) and Layla Guscoth (Hertfordshire Mavericks). The winner will be named during the competition's Grand Final, to be played on 9 June.

LG Mystics defender Kayla Cullen has been named as the 2011 ANZ Championship Best Young Player award, in only her second season of competition at this level. Cullen, who was also named in the ANZ Championship All Star team, was unanimously selected by the expert panel of judges comprising national selectors and former internationals from Australia and New Zealand. Southern Steel's Leana de Bruin and Queensland Firebirds' Natalie Medhurst are the joint recipients of the championship's MVP award.

Cullen will be back in action for the LG Mystics this weekend, after they edged into their first ANZ Grand Final with the narrowest of wins, 43-42 over the First Windows Waikato/BOP Magic in the preliminary final last week. In the competition's first ever all-New Zealand play off fixture, Mystics put on a surge in the second quarter to put the result beyond doubt and despite a second half fight back from the Magic, the Auckland-based Mystics held on to move into their first Grand Final.

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