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.”

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