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Australia's dual-World Netball Championships winning coach Norma Plummer has withdrawn her application to renew her contract with the Diamonds, after it was announced that the role had been restructured.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.

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