Monday, 18 July 2011
World Netball Champions - Australia
Australia are the 2011 Mission Foods Netball World Champions, after defeating world number 1 New Zealand 58-57 in a dramatic extra time victory in Singapore. The Silver Ferns settled into their stride early on, pulling out to a six goal lead by half time. But the introduction of Caitlin Bassett at GS and Laura Geitz at GK re-energised the reigning world champions and they levelled the scores 46-all at the end of regular time. There was nothing to choose between the two at the end of the first period of extra time (52-all) and, as the tension levels rosem Maria Tutaia, the Kiwi heroine of the Delhi Commonwealth Games, had a long-range shot to take the game for New Zealand with only ten seconds remaining. However, the Indian fairytale was not to be repeated: Geitz snapped up the rebound and the Diamonds moved the ball at pace to Bassett, who netted a simple goal under the post as the final whistle blew.
England took the bronze medal for the first time since 1999, breezing past Jamaica 70-49. Shooter Jo Harten did much of the damage for the English side, netting 51 of her side's goals, and had further cause for celebration this week when it was announced that she has been selected in the Canterbury Tactix squad for the 2012 ANZ Championships – her first appearance in this competition.
Sue Hawkins, England's coach since the 2007 World Championships, has announced her resignation this week. Hawkins, the former coach of Auckland Diamonds, has decided to return home to be closer to her family, and is currently examing job opportunities back in Australia.
Congratulations to South Africa's Erin Burger, who was named the player of the tournament, topping the “player of the match” awards voting. Her side ended the tournament in fifth place, after defeating Malawi 52-50 to reclaim the Protea's position as the best side in Africa.
Northern Ireland, the surprise package of the competition, finished in the top eight for the first time, and is now looking to continue that improvement by advertising for a full time coach for the first time in Netball Northern Ireland's history. Interested applicants should email email@example.com for more information.
The immediate aftermath of Australia's back to back World Championships wins has been a huge surge in ticket sales for the autumn international between the Diamonds and the Silver Ferns. 5,000 tickets for the international between the two sides to be played in Perth sold out in under a day, and tickets for the games in Adelaide and Melbourne, as well as for the matches against England in Newcastle, Canberra and Sydney are also selling extremely fast.
In other news, the Tanzania Netball League is now under way, with Jeshi Stars setting the pace at the top of the table. The Tanzanian squad to contest the All Africa Games in September will be named at the end of the league competition with the Taifa Queens then starting a two week long residential training camp as part of their preparations for the Games.