Monday, 26 September 2011

Netball Around the World

Vanuatu's netballers are celebrating this week, after it was agreed that the country's national side, the Vanuatu Lava, will travel to Fiji in 2012 to play training matches against the participating countries at next year's Pacific Netball Series (PNS). Although the PNS currently features only four teams (Papua New Guinea, Samoa, the Cook Islands and Fiji), a strong performance from the Vanuatu players in these warm up fixtures could see them included in the competition for 2013. As part of the preparations for this competition, Vanuatu's netballers are seeking further competitive opportunities, particularly against visiting international club and regional sides at both junior and senior levels. Interested parties should email

The USA Netball Association (USANA) has announced a major restructuring effort which aims to promote development of netball across the United States as well as sourcing sustainable investment to enable the game to grow at all levels. The organisation has scored a notable success already, by placing and implementing an “introduction to netball” programme for sports psychology students at West Chester University. Netball is already included as an intramural sport in Tampa and St Leo's Universities in Florida, and it is hoped that further educational establishments will include it in their sports programmes for the coming year.

After a shortened season in 2011, caused by the timing of the Netball World Championships in Singapore, the ANZ Championships will revert to its usual position in the calendar for the 2012 season. Starting in March 2012, teams will play across a 17 week calendar, with a two week finals series scheduled for May/June. The league's organisers have secured the biggest TV deal in Australian womens' sport history, with all 69 games of the competition to be shown on the Channel 10 network.

Meanwhile, franchises continue to finalise their playing and coaching rosters ahead of the October deadine. The NSW Swifts have announced former England coach and Australia international Sue Hawkins is joining Netball NSW as High Performance Coach. In this new role, she will play a specialist role with the Swifts, as well as working closely with athletes and coaches at the NSW Institute of Sport and state and Australian Netball league teams. For the full fixtures list for the 2012 ANZ Championship season please visit

On the court, the Zimbabwe Netball Association's Netball Superleague resumes this weekend after a three week break. Reigning national champions Railstars face Jazeera Queens in the pick of the round's fixtures.

In Australia, the NSW Waratahs were too strong for the Victorian Fury in the Grand Final of the Australian Netball League Grand Final, emerging 55-46 champions for the first time after an undefeated season. Western Sting maintained their composure to take a 51-48 win against Queensland Fusion and secure third place in the competition.

Congratulations to the 16 teams that have qualified to take part in the 2011 New Zealand Secondary Schools Netball Championships, which will take place in Napier in mid-October. The competition has been extended this season to include four additional teams, with six from the upper North Island, five from the lower North Island and five from the South Island hoping to take the title which was won by Mount Albert Grammar School in 2010.

Finally, IFNA CEO, Urvasi Naidoo, is this week attending the IOC Sport for All Conference in China where she is speaking about IFNA's award winning development programme in India - GOAL.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Netball Around the World

New Zealand's selectors have named three new Silver Ferns in the squad to face Australia and England in the New World Netball Series at the start of October. 19 year old Kayla Cullen , 20 year old Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick and shooter Cathrine Latu are the new faces in the New Zealand line up, while Laura Langman was confirmed as captain for the five tests, while Casey Williams recovers from ankle surgery. Irene van Dyk, the world's most capped international netballer, will be New Zealand's vice captain for the series.

Picture shows the three new Silver Ferns caps named this week – left to right, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick, Cathrine Latu and Kayla Cullen – at the announcement of the squad.

Jamaica captain Nadine Bryan is one of seven netballers to be awarded a scholarship to the University of the West Indies (UWI) this week. Together with the other scholarship recipients – Kera Christie, Samantha Francis, Gillene Graham, Shadian Hemmings, Shann Lambert, Connique Moore – Bryan will be expected to maintain high academic standards during her time at the university, but will be given unprecedented access to UWI's facilities and services for athletes including access to sports psychologists and nutritionists as well as housing and other advisory services. Meanwhile, future Jamaican internationals could be on show from this week, with the start of the ISSA/Digicel High School netball competition. Denbigh, the reigning senior champions, and Holmwood Technical, holders of the junior title, will face stiff competition from the 100 teams taking part in the championships, which is to be sponsored by Digicel for the fifth consecutive year.

Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) captain Janelle Barker was in sparkling shooting form this week, as she led the University of T&T to the T&T Netball Association Champion of Champions. Scoring 20/23 at GS, Barker inspired her side to a 48-31 victory over Tobago champions Blazers.

Still in the Caribbean, Guyana's netballers are undertaking a brief tour of Barbados this week. In addition to matches against leading club sides, Guyana will also face the Barbados U21 and senior teams in a series of games which, it is hoped, will challenge the visitors and assist them with future development plans.

In domestic competitions, the Australian Netball League (ANL) reaches its climax this weekend with the finals weekend being staged in Waverley, Victoria. The interstate competition is a development league for emerging players with each state fielding teams comprising players who, it is hoped, will ultimately play in the ANZ Championships, and possibly for Australia. Western Sting has qualified for the finals weekend for the first time, and will face Victoria Fury in the first semi-final. New South Wales Waratahs will meet Queensland Fusion in the other semi final.

Finally this week, on her return from England's Southern Hemisphere tour, England international Tamsin Greenway will take on a very different role, having been appointed as the first player/coach for Surrey Storm in the Fiat Netball Superleague. The position as player/coach is part of her new wider role as director of netball for the Surrey Sports Park, which will also include community netball programmes and expanding netball's reach across the London and South East region.