Friday, 26 August 2011

Netball Around the World

The Netball Development Trust (NDT) has continued to promote IFNA's GOAL Project in India by attending the Aali vs Aabhas match in Delhi this week. Supported by the Australian Sports Commission, and organised by NAZ Trust, the match was played as part of a six-team league competition which has been organised to increase participation in netball across the Delhi region. Aabhas emerged the victors 9-8 after 30 minutes of play – our photograph shows the game in action. Congratulations to NAZ Trust for all the organising and hard work it really was a great competition.

The NDT is a programme which aims to introduce netball at grass roots level to primary school children living in some of the poorest areas of Uganda and India, in regions where they lack even the most basic equipment and resources needed to play netball. The Trust will be making another trip to India to Bhubaneshwar, Orissa later this year so watch this space for more information on that trip. To find out more about the Trust, visit

Malawi goalshooter Mwayi Kumwende is turning her hand to coaching, after completing her first season as an import player in the Australian Netball League (ANL). Kumwende, her country's first netballing professional, recently returned home after starring for the Penninsula Waves in the ANL and has established a training programme for primary and secondary schools which she will take across Malawi from September.

Tanzania's Taifa Queens will travel to this year's All African Championships without three key players. Restituta Boniface, Irene Elias and Lillian Silidion will miss next month's tournament, which is to be played in Mozambique, as they will be sitting Certificate of Secondary Education examinations. Six other players are currently away from Tanzania's training camp due to commitments at the country's Military Games, but are expected to return for selection at the end of August.

In Botswana's SPAR Good For You National league, UB Crystals edged past Notwane 42-39 in this week's feature match. Inspired by accurate shooting by Botihale Moeng, Crystals overturned Notwane's early lead and with Thulaganyo Segopolo controlling the UB side's defensive line, Crystals held on to take a well deserved victory. In the week's other match, BDF Cats proved too strong for Flying Doves, taking the points from their encounter after an easy 58-10 win.

Jamaica's Young Sunshine Girls completed a 4-0 sweep against England's U19 touring team this week, taking the final test between the two countries 52-40, as both sides started their preparations for the World Youth Championships in 2013. Meanwhile, sponsors General Accident have honoured Sunshine Girls' towering shooter Jhanele Fowler, presenting her with an Award of Excellence for her outstanding shooting during the recent World Championships, at which she was Jamaica's leading goal scorer with a conversion rate of 89%.

The Territory Storm has taken its first win of the 2011 Australian Netball League, coming from behind to sneak a 51-50 win against the Canberra Darters. However, the Storm failed to make it two wins from two this week, despite leading by four goals at the end of the final quarter, as they allowed South Australia to snatch a 47-45 win. Queensland Fusion remains at the top of the competition table, ahead of NSW Waratahs and NSW Blues, both of which have games in hand over the league leaders.

Jade Clarke is the latest English international to secure an ANZ Championship contract, after agreeing terms with New Zealand's Northern Mystics for the 2012 season. Clarke, who appeared briefly for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic in 2010 as a replacement for the injured Peta Scholz, looks set to take over the WD position vacated by Joline Henry when she transferred to the Central Pulse for the new season.

Netball New Zealand has announced that Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic coach Noeline Taurua will act as assistant coach for Silver Ferns head coach Ruth Aitken during the autumn international series. Taurua replaces Waimarana Taumaunu, who stepped down from the assistant coach's role at the conclusion of the Netball World Championships in Singapore earlier this year.

Finally, while many ANZ Championships players are using gym sessions or beach runs as pre-season conditioning training, West Coast Fever player Shae Bolton has set herself a higher target – namely, to reach the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak. Bolton, 22, is undertaking the gruelling trek to raise money for a charity combating homelessness among young people, the Ladder Foundation. To find out more about the trek, or make a donation, please visit

Friday, 19 August 2011

Netball around the world

Ruth Aitken, the world's most capped netball coach, is stepping down as head coach of New Zealand's Silver Ferns in October, and will take up a new role as Coaching Director for Netball New Zealand. Aitken, who took over as Silver Ferns coach in 2001, led New Zealand to its first World Championship title in 16 years in 2003, as well as back to back Commonwealth titles in 2006 and 2010. She will step down from the role after New Zealand's autumn internationals against Australia and England and her replacement will be named in November.

Colette Thomson has been named as coach of England's U21 squad for the 2013 World Youth Championships, and will also be taking charge of the England open squad's autumn tour of Australia and New Zealand. Former international Thomson, who led England to silver at the 2003 World Youth Championships in Florida, will take over the U21 role full time in January. She is currently leading England's Xcel squad's tour of Jamaica, during which the England and Jamaica U19 squads will play three test matches as preparations for the 2013 World Youth Championships get under way for both nations.

The Namibian Netball Association has confirmed that the country is seeking friendly international matches against African neighbours Malawi and Botswana ahead of the Six Nations Cup, which is to take place in Singapore in December.

Gauteng North retained the South African SPAR National Championships title, defeating Free State Motheo 37-31 in an entertaining final. Erkulehni finished the competition in third place, defeating Nelson Mandela Bay 56-44 in the bronze medal play off. Gauteng North also took the U19 and U21 titles at the championships.

More player moves have been confirmed this week as the ANZ Championships sides continue to work on finalising their line ups ahead of the October deadline to name their teams. Australian vice captain Catherine Cox is the latest big name player to switch franchises, moving to the West Coast Fever from the NSW Swifts this week on a two year contract, where she will be joined by promising young English defender Eboni Beckford Chambers. Former Australian U21 star Courtney Tairi is to move to New Zealand's Southern Steel, but after speculation that she would join New Zealand's most southerly team, Australian international Mo'onia Gerrard has confirmed that she will stay with the NSW Swifts for another season.

Finally, congratulations to Pakistan's Shining Star Netball Club, which won the country's Independence Day Netball Championships, defeating Ever Green 27-22 in the final of the competition which was organised by the Punjab Netball Association. To coincide with the tournament, the Punjab Netball Association arranged a series of training sessions at which more than 100 players from Gujranwala, Sialkot, Hafizabad and Shiekhupura learned basic skills and fitness drills, many as first time netballers.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Netball around the world

Many congratulations to IFNA President Molly Rhone, who is to receive the Order of Jamaica, one of the country's highest honours, for services to netball. Former international player Molly, who is the only Jamaican to head an international sport's governing body, has led IFNA since 2003 and was previously chair of the Jamaican Netball Association.

Lisa Alexander has been named as the new head coach of the Australian Diamonds for the next two years, after incumbent Norma Plummer withdrew her application for reappointment after her side's successful World Championships defence in Singapore last month. Alexander, who was formerly Australian U21 coach and Adelaide Thunderbirds assistant coach, aims to continue Australia's international success by improving and extending the country's high performance programme. She will take charge of the squad immediately, with her first national squad camp taking place during the first weekend of September, ahead of autumn internationals against England and New Zealand.

Malawi's most celebrated and recognised international, Mary Waya, has announced she will be opening the Mary Waya Netball Academy from this weekend, to identify and develop future stars of the international game. Waya, who is currently her country's U21 squad coach and led her squad to the title at the African Zone XI championship title last December, will be working with players aged 7-15 to introduce and improve their basic skills and courtcraft.

Jamaican defensive star Althea Byfield has announced her retirement from the international game, following her country's disappointing performances in Singapore. Byfield, 28, was a member of Jamaica's silver medal winning team at the World Youth Championships in 2000, and won bronze medals at the world championships in 2003 and 2007. Former Jamaica captain Simone Forbers, who indicated that she would be retiring from the international game in May has also written to the Jamaica Netball Association to confirm her decision to withdraw from the Sunshine Girls.

Netball Fiji is shaking up its administration, advertising the roles of coach, manager and selectors for the country's international squads for the coming years. Incumbent coaches Gabriel Qoro and Una Rokoura are eligible for reapointment: their current contracts concluded with at the completion of the World Championships in Singapore.

South Africa's Proteas have withdrawn from the All Africa Championships to be held in Mozambique next month. With players still recovering from injuries sustained during the country's World Championships campaign or unavailable due to work or study commitments, Netball South Africa has acknowledged that the timing will not permit adequate preparation or recovery times for its international squad. The Proteas will now focus on their next international match, to be held in Perth, Australia, in October, against Malawi.

In domestic competitions, England Netball has confirmed the eight franchises to take part in the 2012 Fiat Netball Superleague. Champions Hertfordshire Mavericks and former title holders TeamBath will be joined by Surrey Storm, Northern Thunder, Team Northumbria, Loughborough Lightning, new side Yorkshire Jets and Celtic Dragons in the league, which has been trimmed from nine squads to eight for the new season. Meanwhile, former England coach Mary Beardwood has confirmed that she is stepping down from her role as head coach of Surrey Storm after two seasons in charge. She will become the franchise's first honorary Vice President in recognition of her contribution to the development of Surrey Storm in its first two years of existence.

Gauteng North is on track to defend South Africa's Spar National Netball Championships title after dismissing Western Province 60-29 and Griqualand West 61-27 in their pool matches this week. Free State Motheo are also unbeaten ahead of this weekend's play off matches, with the final due to be played on Sunday.

As franchises in the ANZ Championships continue to finalise their line ups, Central Pulse have added another international star to their line up for the 2012 season with the signing of Silver Fern Joline Henry. She will join a much-strengthened Pulse side for the new season, which will also boast New Zealand stars Camilla Lees, Katrina Grant, Paula Griffin and Australian sharpshooter Caitlin Thwaites. However, two Silver Ferns will be missing from next year's competition with Daneka Wipiiti taking time out to play basketball and Leana Leota likely to move to the UK with her husband, who has been signed to play rugby with club side Sale.

Monday, 8 August 2011

IFNA President Honoured

The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) is very proud to announce that its President, Mrs Molly Rhone, will receive the Order of Jamaica at the Jamaica National Honours and Awards Ceremony at King’s House on National Heroes Day, October 17.

In 1999 the government of Jamaica awarded her the Order of Distinction for her work in netball but now she will receive the country's fourth highest honour, the Order of Jamaica, for services locally and internationally in Sports Administration, in particular netball.

Molly served as Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) President from 1993 until 2003 and represented Jamaica in the World Netball Championships (WNC) in 1967 and 1975.

Molly is the only Jamaican to head an international sporting body, has been IFNA’s President since 2003 and is the longest serving President to date. From 1999 to 2003 she served as IFNA Vice President and between 1997 and 2003 she was responsible for the bidding, planning, organisation and successful hosting of the eleventh World Netball Championships held in Jamaica.

Molly is absolutely thrilled to receive the Order: "It is a great honour. As I always say, when we serve we don't serve to be recognised, we serve out of love and passion, and we do appreciate it when we are recognised."

Friday, 5 August 2011

Australia's dual-World Netball Championships winning coach Norma Plummer has withdrawn her application to renew her contract with the Diamonds, after it was announced that the role had been restructured. Plummer, who took charge in 2003 and led Australia to consecutive World titles in 2007 and 2011, as well as two Commonwealth silver medals, was recently appointed head coach of the West Coast Fever in the ANZ Championships, after stating that she wants to return to a more day-to-day hands on coaching role. During her time in charge, Plummer's Australia won 75% of their 89 international test matches. Her replacement will be announced shortly.

New Zealand vice captain Temepara George announced her retirement this week, after 89 test appearances for the Silver Ferns. After making her international debut in 2000 against Australia, George went on to claim two Commonwealth Games gold medals with New Zealand, as well as the 2003 World title. The Ferns' selectors have announced two new faces – 19 year old Kayla Cullen and 21 year old Julianna Naoupu – in the New Zealand squad to face Australia and England in the autumn international programme. Former Samoan international Cathrine Latu, having served an international suspension period, is named for the Silver Ferns after an impressive ANZ season, while New Zealand U21 international Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick and New Zealand accelerant squad member Te Huinga Reo Selby Rickett have been announced as training partners for the upcoming Ferns training camp in September.

Netball South Africa has abandoned using a quota system for selection, but president of the association, Mimi Mthethewa, has stated this week that teams chosen for the country's upcoming national championships must still be a fair representation of players from within their areas, to ensure that player development is allowed to continue. Previously, squads without the required ratio of seven black and five white players, or seven white and five players were docked points before the start of the tournament.

Tanzania's Taifa Queens go into camp this weekend as preparations start to build for the All Africa Games, to be held in Mozambique from 3-18 September. Under the watchful eye of coach Mary Protas, the 20 player squad includes members from Zanzibar for the first time and will be in training camp for a month. They are set to face Ghana, South Africa and Zimbabwe in the opening stages of the Games competition.

England's U19 squad is set to tour Jamaica in August, as both sides step up preparations for the World Youth Netball Championships in 2013. In addition to four practice games against Jamaica, England will also take on the best of the island's youth club and school sides in four additional matches during their ten day tour. Jamaica's preparations for the World Youth Championships have been boosted by an increased sponsorship commitment which will allow the Young Sunshine Girls to extend their training programmes over a four year period.

In domestic competitions, Sri Lanka's 20th Milo All Island Netball Championships concluded this week, with Holy Family Convent, Kurunegala crowned as champions for the fourth successive year. The champions retained their title in style, with five teams in all age groups of the competition from U12 to U19. More than 330 teams – a record entry level – took part in the tournament.