Friday, 28 October 2011

Netball Around the World

Netballing occasions do not get any bigger than encounters between the world’s top two, Australia and New Zealand, and the third test match up in Melbourne, which will decide the 2011 Constellation Cup between the two nations, is set to be a thrilling encounter. With the series tied at one game apiece from matches played earlier in the year, New Zealand took first blood at the resumption, taking the match in Perth by a single goal 49-48. However, the world champions regrouped and inspired by a strong shooting performance by stand-in captain Catherine Cox, overcame a spirited Kiwi fight back to level the series once more 51-44. The final game of the series, to decide the destination of the trophy for this year’s competition, takes place on Sunday. With only a few points in the IFNA World Rankings it is not just the trophy that is up for grabs.

(c) MB Photo - - Diamonds and Silver Ferns in action on the 26th October

There was a shock in the warm up match played ahead of the Perth test, when a young and relatively inexperienced South Africa team, ranked fifth in the world, lost 61-37 to the sixth-ranked Malawi Queens in a fixture to promote the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting which was taking place at the same time. And in a further boost for Malawi netball, on the Queens’ return home, it was announced that the Malawi government has committed K500M (approx $3M US) to construct a new training and match facility for the side. Meanwhile, Mimi Mthethwa, has been re-elected as president of Netball South Africa, together with Blanche De La Guerre who retained her vice president role at the recent Annual General Meeting of the association.

The selectors of the All Namibia Netball Association (ANNA) have announced the country’s squad of 12 which will compete at the Nations Cup in Singapore in December. Eight players from the Khomas Region league have been named in the squad, but there is no place for experienced utility defender Wency Katjatako, who missed the final selection while sitting her Masters degree in Marketing at the University of Cape Town. The full Nambibia squad selected (including three non-travelling reserves) is: Penny Amupandi, Dalena Botes, Eve Hamwaalwa, Nadia Janse van Rensberg, Toetsie Kambatuku, Annah Kasper, Delilah Keja, Yvonne Kotjipati, Nalande Mostert, Tanya Mupiri, Eveline Sikoka, Salome Swarts, Golla Uahongora, Ester Uuwango, Susan van Zyl.

It seems that extreme cold weather is not a hindrance to the spread of netball across the world, with news from the USANA that the game has now been introduced to school teachers in Alaska as part of the governing body’s grass roots development programme. Francisco Campbell, a keen netballer at the University of Alaska, took the initiative to introduce the game to school teachers from across the region at the recent Alaska State AAPHRD Convention where, thanks to the support of the USANA, he was able to present practical and theory sessions for those attending. Various publications were made available to participants including IFNA’s Basic Coaching Manual, as well as USANA’s manuals on setting up a netball club and Quick Guide to the Rules, and Francisco (pictured taking a toss up during the session)is confident that many of those who attended will set up clubs at their own schools and colleges. It is hoped that an Alaska State Netball Association can be founded in the near future as a result of this initiative.

With 1,000 days to go to the start of the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Netball Scotland has announced that a series of initiatives to boost the performance of the Scottish Thistles when they compete on home soil. Following an intensive training camp held at the University of Bath – the side’s possible holding camp during the 2014 games, it was announced that Scotland, ranked 14th in the world, will play a one off test match against world number seven Fiji in Liverpool in November, before facing world number 12 Wales in a three match test series in Aberdeen in December. The Thistles squad has also received support and motivational coaching from stars of athletics and television, with Olympic athlete Dame Kelly Holmes and singer and TV presenter Cheryl Baker providing hints and tips for the squad on training and preparation, as well as handling the pressure of the “big occasion.”

Friday, 21 October 2011

Netball around the World

IFNA's GOAL programme continues to bring netball to young players across India: this week the Netball Development Trust saw first hand how empowering the game can be, sending these pictures from this week's game between Sanjay Colony and Abhas played at Tughlakabad near Delhi. A large crowd turned out to see Sanjay Colony take the game 28-1 in impressive style. The Netball Development Trust (NDT) is seeking sponsors for its coaching manuals and rule books which will be used on the NDT's wider tour of India later this year: the books will not only be used at the schools that the Trust visits but will also be utilised by its in-country volunteers year round. To find out more, please email or you can make a donation to the publication costs by visiting please mark your donation “Coaching manuals and rule books”.

Australia and New Zealand meet this weekend for the resumption of the 2011 Constellation Cup, with the victor set to take not only the silverware but the world number 1 position. When the two teams met in June in Australia, they each won a single match, leaving the series poised for an electric conclusion in New Zealand. The sides have two new coaches since the June encounters – Lisa Alexander and Wai Taumaunu, who go head to head at this level for the first time.

World champions Australia completed their warm up for the Constellation Cup with a 45-41 victory over England to take the series between the two 3-0. But they were made to fight all the way by the young tourists, who were inspired by an impressive defensive display from Ama Agbeze and improved shooting from youngsters Joanne Harten and Rosie Allison. Australia will welcome back defenders Julie Corletto, Susan Fuhrmann and Mo'onia Gerrard for the New Zealand Tests, after all have recovered from minor injuries.

As a warm up for the first match of the series, in Perth on Sunday, spectators will have the chance to see the top two sides in Africa in competition. South Africa, who impressed at the Singapore World Championships, will take on world number six Malawi as the curtain-raiser to the main game and the teams will also play warm up games against the world's top two, as well as the Australian Institute of Sport side. While in Australia, representatives of Netball South Africa and the Netball Association of Malawi are being introduced to administrators across Western Australia as they look to increase participation and improve standards across the game back home.

Cayman Islands netball received a welcome boost this week with the news that the Islands' Netball Association has appointed a new technical director, as well as confirming government investment which will improve playing surfaces across the country. Government Director of Sports, Collin Anglin, this week confirmed that the government is keen to bring netball into line with other Cayman sports, to ensure participation across the region continues to grow.

In domestic competitions, Botswana's UB Crystals took an unexpected 53-51 against a weakened Jungle Queens side in this week's matches in the country's Spar Good For You National League. The Queens, who were missing the services of their inspirational captain Lilian Rankgwe and star defender Opelo Setshwano, found it hard to cope with the paces of the Crystals attacking line up early on, and despite a late surge, could not close the gap. In the week's other game, Notwane defeated Doves 51-23.

Leeds Athletic defeated Oaksway 43-34 in the English Premier League division 1 to move to the top of the championship table, ahead of reigning champions Academy, 52-31 winners over Thoroughbreds. Leyton is still undefeated in division two, leading the table, after a 33-25 win against London rivals Cumberland. Meanwhile, Telstars and Grangetown are still tied at the top of division three with four wins from four matches.

Meanwhile, good luck to Welsh community netball coach Catherine Roberts who has been shortlisted for the Contribution to Development Award at the annual Sport Wales awards, which take place at the end of the year. Roberts, who is Welsh Netball's Community Coach for Carmarthenshire, works with local clubs and schools across the region to identify and develop playing, umpiring and coaching talent.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Congratulations to IFNA President, Mrs Molly Rhone


The International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) President, Mrs Molly Rhone, received 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 she has now received 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."

Congratulations from all at IFNA and on behalf of Members, netballers, officials and fans around the world thank you for what you do for netball year after year. Your lifetime dedication and passion is a guiding light for our sport.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Netball Around the World

Many congratulations to all those involved in the organisation of the Mission Foods World Netball Championships (WNC) Singapore 2011, which won the Brand Presentation category at this week's International Sports Event Management Awards (ISEM) 2011 dinner. The Mission Foods WNC 2011 beat off some stiff opposition to take the prize, ahead of the AFC Football World Cup 2011, World 9 Ball Championships, the 2nd Asian Beach Games Muscat and Emir Cup 2011 and scooped the first prize for the best use of sports event branding to drive consumer awareness, customer loyalty and establish a positive brand image in the minds of the spectators. And there was further cause for celebration when the WNC was also awarded the Silver, runners' up, award in the Event Look category, just behind winners the UEFA Europa League Final 2011, one of the world's biggest annual sporting events. Well done to all those involved with the Singapore competition.

Picture of Urvasi Naidoo, IFNA CEO receiving the Brand Presentation Award

World Netball Champions, the Australian Diamonds have continued their winning ways on the court, establishing an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the Holden Netball Test series against world number three England. The host nation sealed the series with a 67-36 victory over the young, inexperienced England side in Canberra, Australia's third largest score ever against England, having taken the first Test 62-47 in Newcastle. The final game in the three match series is to be played in Sydney this weekend, before Australia's attention turns to three Tests against Commonwealth champions New Zealand to be played at the end of the month. However, the Diamonds will be without their midcourt dynamo and captain Natalie Von Bertouch after it was announced that she will miss the entire autumn international season with a stress reaction in the sesamoid bone of her right foot. Catherine Cox will retain the captaincy for the remainder of the England and New Zealand series.

Meanwhile, new Diamonds coach Lisa Alexander already has one eye on the upcoming World Netball Series, to be played in Liverpool in November, and has named an Australian squad blending youth and experience to take part in the competition. The full Australian FastNet squad is: Emily Beaton, Kate Beveridge, Ashleigh Brazill, Rebecca Bulley, Bianca Chatfield, Carla Dziwoki, April Letton, Susan Pratley, Verity Simmons, Amy Steel, Vanessa Ware and Amorette Wild. The World Netball Series takes place from 25-27 November: for further information, please visit

The Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) has announced that plans to host a three Test series against world number two New Zealand in early 2012 has been shelved for the time being. JNA President Marva Barnard acknowledged that, with the Sunshine Girls currently in the throes of a rebuilding programme after the World Netball Championships, the Jamaican side would not provide a proper test for the Silver Ferns at this stage. Shooting sensation Romelda Aiken and six other senior internationals have indicated that they are taking a break from the international game and would not be available for the planned Test series. Instead, Jamaica's young players will focus on preparations for the World Netball Series and it is hoped that the Tests against New Zealand can be rescheduled for some time in the near future.

Waimarama Taumaunu has been appointed as head coach for the Silver Ferns for the next four years. Taumaunu, a former New Zealand captain and most recent assistant coach to Ruth Aitken, will take charge of the Ferns for the upcoming international series against Australia, after Aitken was forced to withdraw for family reasons.

The first ever South Asian Beach Games reaches a conclusion this weekend in Hambantota, Sri Lanka. Eight Asian countries – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and the host nation – have played a round robin competition throughout the week, which also aims to bring netball to a new audience across the region. The final will be played later today (Friday).

Former English international Tracey Neville has been named as the new Director of Netball at Northern Thunder, the north west based franchise in the UK's Fiat Netball SuperLeague. Neville, who was head coach at Team Northumbria last season, won more than 80 international caps during her playing career, and will lead the team out for their first fixture of the 2012 season at a new home venue. Northern Thunder will now be based at the Wright Robinson Sports Village in East Manchester, which is to become the new national performance centre for players in the North West.

Remaining in the North West of England, netballers are mourning the death of inspirational coach Mike Greenwood, who died last weekend. A tough talking and skilled tactician, Greenwood founded Oldham Netball Club 25 years ago, and during his coaching career, the club's juniors won 40 national age group championships, while the senior first team plays in division one of the UK's National Premier League. He coached Northern Thunder in the Super Cup for a season, and returned to the franchise in 2008, taking them from the bottom of the table to a second place finish in 2011. He also coached England's U17s and U19s in home internationals and European championships and it was estimated that all matches (if not teams) in the UK Premier League had at least one player he had coached on court last weekend.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Netball around the World

IFNA is delighted to announce that the Mission Foods World Netball Championships held in Singapore earlier this year have been nominated for two prestigious awards at the upcoming International Sports Event Management Conference. The awards, to be presented on 12 October, are the only global awards to recognise excellence in the international sports event management industry. The Mission Foods World Netball Championships 2011 have been shortlisted in the Event Look and Brand Presentation categories.

New Zealand netball celebrated two significant milestones this week, during its two match test series against England. The second test played in Invercargill was the final home coaching appearance of New Zealand's Ruth Aitken – the world's most capped netball coach, while prolific Silver Ferns shooter Irene Van Dyk (39) became the first player ever to achieve 200 international caps.

Having won the first international in the series earlier in the week by 22 goals, the Silver Ferns rounded out a great week with a 53-32 victory over a young and relatively inexperienced England team. Both England and New Zealand now travel to Australia to face the reigning world champions in three match test series. However, the Diamonds will be without some key personnel, at least for the first of their encounters with England, after it was announced that captain Natalie von Bertouch will be sidelined by a stress reaction in her sesamoid bone in her right foot. Star defender Mo'onia Gerrard is also likely to miss the series against England, which gets under way on Sunday, after being sidelined with a calf strain. Madison Browne and Rebecca Bulley have been called into the Australian squad as cover.

South Africa's selectors have named a strong team to face Malawi in the one-off test to be played in Perth ahead of the Australia/New Zealand test match later this month. Experienced defender Leigh-Ann Zackey has announced her retirement from the international game, but the South African selectors have recalled Adele Niemand, who represented South Africa at the 2007 World Championships. Anja Opperman and Karla Mostert are named in the Proteas squad for the first time. The full squad is: Amanda Mynhardt (capt), Zanele Mdodana (vice capt), Chrisna Bootha, Erin Burger, Zukelwa Cwaba, Vanes-Mari du Toit, Tsakane Mbewe, Karla Mostert, Bongiwe Msome, Adele Niemand, Anja Opperman, Nokuthula Qegu.

Grass roots players in England received a boost this week, with the announcement of an additional £1 million in funding from Sport England. The funding recognises England Netball's success in driving community sport participation and is intended by Sport England to drive up participation numbers across the country.

The Jamaica Netball Association (JNA) has announced it will unveil a new four year development plan for the island's netball programme at the end of October. While final details of the programme are still being worked on, the plan will include the revival of parish netball associations across Jamaica particularly in the west of the island), improving the administration and communication for clubs with the JNA and implementing a new coaching programme designed to train as many as 200 new local coaches. As the first step for the new four year programme, Maureen Hall has been appointed as Jamaica's new High Performance Director.

Grenada's Lottysha Cato met the island's president, the Hon Tillman Thomas, this week, in recognition of her achievements as the country's first professional netballer. Cato, who is expected to join the Celtic Dragons for a second season in the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague in early 2012, has used her time in Grenada to coach up and coming players and pass on the knowledge which she has gained during her time in the UK.

Vanuatu netballers are to compete in their first ever national netball championships at the start of December. The National Netball Series will take place from 5-9 December and will feature coaching and umpiring workshops as well as mentoring sessions for participating umpires and coaches during the championships themselves. Further details of the event activities can be found by visiting

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Netball Around the World

England’s new look, young squad has arrived in New Zealand ahead of next week’s internationals against the Silver Ferns. Northern Thunder defender Emma Dovey has been included in the squad in place of Sonia Mkoloma, who is resting after a heavy international and ANZ Championships workload during the past few seasons. The first Test match takes place on Monday, with the second to be played in Auckland on Thursday.

Dovey in action playing for Northern Thunder.

Meanwhile, on the domestic front, squads are starting the build up to the 2012 Fiat Netball Superleague. Reigning champions Mavericks have announced that former international captain Karen Atkinson, who retired from playing after the World Championships in Singapore, is to take over as head coach of reigning champions Mavericks. On the player front, last season’s Grand Finalists Surrey Storm have secured one of the league’s top names for the new season, with the announcement that Pamela Cookey is to join the Guildford-based franchise.
The Malawian government has released K5 million (approx $30,000US) to fund the Queens upcoming trip to Australia. With the Malawi national side rebuilding after the retirements of stalwart internationals Mary Waya, Peace Chawinga, Esther Nkhoma and Sylvia Malenga, the Test match to be played between the Queens and arch rivals South Africa is a warm up to the Australia/New Zealand Test match in Perth later this month and will give the team’s management a chance to assess the side’s potential for the coming four year international cycle. The Queens will also play Australia’s U21 side in practice matches as the young Diamonds team starts its build up to the defence of its World Youth Netball Championships title in 2013.

Meanwhile, across Africa, the All Namibia Netball Association (ANNA) is seeking sponsorships to allow its national side to play a series of friendly internationals in the build up to the Six Nations Championships in Singapore, from 6-11 December. World number 24 Namibia is set to be the lowest ranked nation taking part in Singapore, alongside Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Singapore. With training camps planned for the coming weeks, the Namibian national squad will face Botswana and, it is hoped, Malawi in international matches ahead of the Singapore competition: ANNA’s final squad for the Six Nations Championships will be named in October.

In New Zealand, Canterbury secured back to back Lion National Netball Championships titles when they defeated Otago 63-59 in an all-South Island grand final to the 2011 competition. Ellen Halpenny was the stand out shooter for the champions, netting 45 goals from 50 attempts in a clinical and impressive all court team performance.

Congratulations to Vanuatu Netball Association delegates Eileen Nganga and Aileen Huri who were part of the Vanuatu South Pacific Games team leadership group. Despite netball not being included in this year’s competition, the pair were included thanks to their excellent administrative and leadership skills.

St Lucia Netball Association launched its Super J Vintage Netball League last weekend with a parade of participating teams in front of the island’s Governor General, patron of the Association. The league will feature six teams of players aged 40 and over, and will be played at venues across the island until the end of October.

USA Netball is now able to call on a true sporting great as it continues to increase awareness of the game across America. Former men’s World figure skating champion, six time USA men’s champion and double Olympian Todd Eldredge has turned his hand to netball coaching, and has taken up a position coaching in South West Florida. USA Netball will be utilising his expertise to mentor its emerging national squad players in developing the mental strength and skills needed to succeed at the top of the sport.

Finally, netball emerged as one of the most fashionable sports around this week, with news that it inspired a catwalk collection shown at Milan Fashion Week! English designer Christopher Kane took the game as his starting point for his designs for the Versus range, which was shown on a catwalk laid out as a netball court. Netball skirts, in particular, were used as a basis for many designs, which have been universally acclaimed by the world’s fashion press. Perhaps it will not be too long before Kane links with a sportswear company to create a high end netball clothing range, as Stella McCartney has done so successfully with Adidas and tennis wear. As one fashion journalist commented, in terms of Kane’s and Versace’s collection, “They shoot! They scored!”.