Monday, 27 June 2011

Netball around the world - Weekly Round Up

With the start of the Mission Foods World Netball Championships less than a week away, participating teams are now putting the final touches to their preparations and starting their journeys to the host country Singapore.

First to arrive in Singapore were the South African Proteas, who met with South African president Jacob Zuma last Sunday before departure at the President's official residence in Pretoria (pictured). President Zuma wished the team well at the championships and promised that he or Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula will visit the competition to watch the South African side in action. However, South Africa will be without their experienced vice captain Nthabiseng Moabi for the competition, after she was removed from the South African line up: Zanele Mdodana takes over the vice captain's role and Bongiwe Msoni, captain of South Africa's U21 side, has been added to the touring squad.

The Malawi Queens completed their preparations for the competition, defeating the Botswana Chicks 41-28 and 33-27 in two friendly matches. Malawi faces Uganda in a final warm up game this Saturday (25 June) before leaving for Singapore, although it look unlikely that veteran shooter Mary Waya will be included in the Queens line up, after she failed to attend a training camp this week. However, Malawi will be boosted at the World Championships by the return of shooter Mwayi Kumwenda, who has been in sparkling form for Australian club, Penninsula Waves, in the Victorian Netball league – this week she scored 66/71 as her side defeated UB Ballarat Pride 81-44.

Samoa's squad assembled in Canberra, Australia yesterday ahead of the journey to Singapore, but will be travelling without their most experienced international. Frances Solia, part of the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic side in the ANZ Championships, was unavailable for Samoan national selection in April and was therefore left out of the squad for the world championships. Samoa will play practice matches against the Australian Institute of Sport across the weekend before leaving for Singapore.

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls are set for a huge send off on their journey to Singapore, after it was revealed that a trans-island road show is planned for them on Sunday as they travel to the airport in Montego Bay. The roadshow caps a successful week for the Jamaican team off the court, after they unveiled a four year $J20.6million (approx $243,000US) sponsorship deal from Best Dressed Chicken, part of the Jamaica Broilers Group. The package will cover not only Jamaica's participation in the Singapore competition but will also fund preparations for the 2015 World Championships competition in Australia.

Reigning world champions Australia have arrived in Hong Kong for a four day training camp at the world renowned Hong Kong Football Club, where they will be holding an open training session for all of the principality's netballers on Saturday afternoon (25 June). Madison Browne has been forced to withdraw as a training partner to the Australian Diamonds due to emergency dental surgery, and her place as a training partner has been taken by Sydney Swifts' Vanessa Ware.

The Mission Foods World Netball Championships get under way on 3 July – for further information, socres and live updates, please bookmark

Friday, 17 June 2011

Netball around the world - Weekly Round Up

With the start of the Misson Foods World Netball Championships in Singapore just over two weeks away, squads around the world are fine tuning their preparations for the competition.

World number eight, Trinidad and Tobago's “Calypso Girls” (pictured) completed a three match warm up series against Barbados this week, taking the series 2-1. Barbados, ranked tenth, surprised their Caribbean neighbours with a 43-42 win in the first game, before Trinidad and Tobago regrouped to win the remaining games 54-30 and 45-34 and take the mental advantage into the Singapore competition.

Botswana's selectors have narrowed their national squad to 15 players ahead of naming the final 12 to take part in the Singapore competition. This weekend, Botswana travel to Malawi to play final warm up matches against their African rivals, before the country's selectors name their World Championships squad. Malawi's selectors have recalled veteran shooter Mary Waya to their national squad for the Botswana series, where she will line up once more with her country's first semi-professional Mwayi Kumwenda, who has been playing for the Penninsula Waves club side in Australia. Former Malawi captain Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa has been named as assistant to coach Edith Kaliati.

Fiji beat Samoa 48-35 in the first match of the Pacific Series, with both sides using the game as a chance to test combinations ahead of the World Championships. Meanwhile, Jamaica's Sunshine Girls are playing three warm up matches in three days this weekend against a select “President's Twelve” squad to simulate the playing conditions they will face during the competition. The President's Twelve comprises three of Jamaica's long squad – Naudia Brown, Marion Campbell and Tracey-Ann Robinson, together with former national representatives Elaine Davis, Georgia Gordon and Sabrina Spence and members of Jamaica's national mens' team.

The world's top two netballing nations, Australia and New Zealand, tied their final test series before the World Championships 1-1. After losing the first match to the Diamonds, the Silver Ferns came back strongly to take a thrilling 45-42 win in the second game between the two sides. New Zealand captain, Casey Williams, returned to the Ferns' starting line up after missing the first match through injury and inspired her side with some sensational interceptions and dogged defending to keep the young Australian front line at bay.

Jamaican assistant coach Annette Daley and squad member Kimone Tulloch this week received donations from the Mico Foundation to help offset their expenses at the Championships. Daley is a netball coach and lecturer at the Mico University while Tulloch has just completed her second year of a degree in business education at the college.

Host nation Singapore will face Botswana in the opening match of the Championships on Sunday 3rd July – for more information, please visit

Finally, tributes have been flooding in for Lucas Von Hoff, the Australian born FIAT Superleague umpire who died from suspected heart failure last Saturday, aged 30. A memorial ceremony will be held for him on London's Clapham Common on Wednesday 22 June – for more information, please visit Our condolences go to all of Lucas' friends and family at this sad time.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Picture shows Australian captain Natalie von Bertouch (right) and squad members at the announcement of the Australian Diamonds to defend their world championship title, held in Canberra.

Reigning world champions, the Australian Diamonds have included three uncapped players in their squad to defend their title in Singapore in July. Queensland Firebirds' Chelsea Pitman and Adelaide Thunderbirds Erin Bell and Sharni Layton were included in the Australian line up after stand out performances in the 2011 ANZ Championships and in the four day selection weekend, which concluded on Monday. The full Australia World Championships squad is: Natalie von Bertouch (captain), Catherine Cox (vice captain), Caitlin Bassett, Erin Bell, Julie Corletto, Susan Fuhrmann, Laura Geitz, Mo'onia Gerrard, Kimberlee Green, Sharni Layton, Natalie Medhurst, Chelsea Pitman. The Diamonds will face rivals New Zealand in two tests next week, before travelling to Hong Kong for a week-long training camp where they will play Samoa, Northern Ireland and Sri Lanka in preparation for Singapore. Maddison Browne, Clare McMeniman, Amy Steel and Caitlin Thwaites, who narrowly missed out on World Championships selection, have been named as training partners for the Diamonds squad during their preparations.

However it is unclear if Australian coach Norma Plummer will be in charge of the Diamonds after the World Championships, after it was announced this week that she is to take over the role of head coach for the West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championships on her return from Singapore. Plummer, who has guided the Australian national side for the past eight years, has yet to announce whether she will reapply for her national role but Netball Australia chief executive Kate Palmer has said that there is nothing to stop her holding the two positions consecutively. Meanwhile, former Australian international player Lisa Beehag has been named as the coach of the Sydney Swifts for the 2012 season, after incumbent Julie Fitzgerald did not have her contract renewed. Also this week, championship winners the Mission Foods Queensland Firebirds have announced that winning coach Rosealee Jencke will remain in post for another year.

FISU, the International University Sports Federation, has announced that Cape Town, South Africa will host the inaugural FISU World University Netball Championships, to take place in 2012. FISU is the leading global organisation for university sport and has 153 members from national university sports federations from around the world.

Netball development across Vanuatu continues to prosper, with a series of outreach programmes planned for more of the country's 83 islands. Three of Vanuatu Netball Association's coaching and umpiring scholarship recipients are to travel to Pentecost and Malekula to run umpiring and coaching courses as well as training sessions for young players. In addition, more than 20 applicants have been successful in achieving their local umpiring badge theory certificate following an intensive training course and assessment. Congratulations to all those involved.

Experienced midcourter Nadine Bryan has been named as captain of Jamaica's Sunshine Girls for the World Championships. Bryan, who took time away from the international game prior to the 2007 competition in Auckland, wil be competing in her fourth World Championships.

World number eight-ranked side Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has also announced its World Championships squad this week. Janelle Barker will captain the side, which also includes Anastacia Wilson, who was part of Northern Thunder's squad in the UK's Netball Superleague last season. The full T&T squad is: Janelle Barker (capt), Anika La Roche (vice captain), Kielle Connelly, Joelisa Cooper, Crystal-Ann George, Candice Guerero, Onella Jack, Rhonda John-Davis, Alicia Liverpool, Tricia Liverpool, Jellene Richardson, Anastacia Wilson. T&T will complete its world championships preparations with a three match test series against tenth-ranked Barbados at the end of June.
The newly christened Scottish Thistles completed an overwhelming 3-0 series victory over Sri Lanka, with a 78-41 win at Kelvin Hall in Glasgow after 77-42 and 69-42 wins in the first two matches, played in Aberdeen and Kilbride.

Hertfordshire Mavericks powered into their sixth consecutive Grand Final in the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague with an impressive 55-44 victory over Northern Thunder in the competition's major semi final. Thunder, who led the league for much of the season before being struck by a series of serious injuries to key players, were unable to match the shooting accuracy of Mavericks' England international Louisa Brownfield and Monique Wood, who scored at 89% for the match. In the final, Mavericks will face either Northern Thunder or Surrey Storm, after the South East-based team stunned reigning champions 57-53 with a thrilling last quarter comeback after trailing by five goals at three-quarter time.