Friday, 25 November 2011

Netball Around the World

The six competing teams are putting final touches to their preparations ahead of today's first games in the 2011 World Netball Series in Liverpool. World Champions Australia will be first on court against Jamaica, while home favourites England face competition debutantes Fiji in the second game of the day. New Zealand will be looking to take a third consecutive titles at this year's competition and open their challenge for the silverware against South Africa. Shooter Maria Tutaia has been photographed practising her “long shots” in training this week

For more information and to book tickets please visit

Fiji's preparations for the World Netball Series have not gone as smoothly as anticipated, after the world number 7 ranked side lost a warm up game to Scotland, ranked 14, 50- 23 earlier this week. The Thistles, who are preparing for a hotly anticipated home test series against close rivals Wales (ranked 12) in early December, were in scintillating form from the first whistle while the visitors found it hard to adjust to the colder conditions and playing style of the home team.

Elsewhere across the world, teams are also putting the finishing touches to their preparations for the Fair Price Foundation Nations Cup, which takes place in Singapore at the start of December. Without much international experience in recent years, world number 24 side Namibia has been training hard and aims to improve its ranking to 21 by the end of the tournament. Meanwhile, hosts Singapore have named a side packed with young talent from its U21 squad, which will be led by seasoned veteran Jean Ng (pictured centre) and will be using the competition as preparation for next year's Asian Cup, as well as avenging their loss to Fiji in July this year. The Nations Cup will be played from 5-11 December.

Netball New Zealand is considering a radical restructure for its domestic game to address concerns that money is being lost in overcomplicated administrative structures. The suggested plan would move from the current 12 region set-up to a five zone model, each aligned with an ANZ Championship franchise and with responsibility for grass roots competition, player development pathways and high performance delivery. Members will vote on the proposals at an Annual General Meeting in February, with a two thirds majority required for the changes to be adopted.

Former Australia coach Marg Caldow received the first Spirit of Netball Award at last weekend's Australian Netball Awards ceremony in recognition of her efforts in coaching the Diamonds to back to back World Championships titles. The honour recognises extraordinary achievements and sporting performances that have captured the hearts of Australian netballers, fans, and the general public, and form part of netball’s sporting history. Other award winners at the glittering ceremony included international defender Laura Geitz, who was named the recipient of the prestigious Liz Ellis Diamond award, Australian netball's top individual honour, and Sharon Kelly who was once again named umpire of the year. Two former Australian captains, Liz Ellis and Julie Francou, were inducted into Australian Netball's Hall of Fame during the ceremony. For the full list of winners, please visit

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Netball around the world.

Fiji’s selectors have delayed the announcement of the country’s squad to compete at the upcoming World Netball Series in Liverpool. Meanwhile, in a bid to boost tourism to the country, Fiji is hosting the 14th Golden Oldies World Netball festival this week. Former Silver Fern and Fiji international, Vilimaina Davu, is the ambassador of the tournament which will feature teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Barbados, the Cook Islands and Vanuatu, as well as six sides from Fiji itself. The festival aims to encourage netballers from all over the globe to socialise together, and, it is anticipated, will boost visitor numbers to the country, which last hosted the event in 1996.

Picture shows Vilimaina Davu, Fiji’s ambassador for the Golden Oldies World Netball Festival, in action in the ANZ Championships for the LG Mystics

Singapore’s U21 squad is returning home this weekend after completing a gruelling tour of Wales and Northern Ireland in preparation for the FairPrice Foundation Nations Cup which will be played in December. During the ten day trip, Singapore emerged victorious in three matches against Northern Ireland’s U17, U21A and U21B teams, as well as defeating Wales U19s 43-39. However, Wales U21 side proved too strong for the Asian tourists, winning both matches between the two teams 49-34 and 46-40. Singapore’s squad to compete in the Nations Cup will be announced on 18 November.

Eight teams have confirmed their participation in the upcoming Uhuru Cup, which is to be played in Dar es Salaam at the end of this month. In addition to the domestic teams which have already registered for the tournament, which is being held to commemorate Tanzania’s 50 years of independence, the Tanzania Netball Association has issued invitations to teams from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to take part in the competition.

Across Africa, Botswana’s Spar Good For You Championships reaches the semi-final stage this weekend, with defending champions Tasc looking to take its four title in a row despite strong competition from BDF Cats, Notwane and UB Crystals, which complete the competition’s line up.

In the ANZ Championships, New Zealand’s Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic has startled many observers by naming Australian Netball League (ANL) player Khao Watts as its import for the 2012 season. Watts, who has played three seasons in the ANL was recommended to the Magic by their former Australian international import Peta Scholz, and was named in the 2012 line up after an eight hour trial against other Magic hopefuls.

Meanwhile, across the Tasman, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) has named its scholarship holders for the 2012 programme. The holders will experience state of the art facilities and services in a programme designed by newly appointed AIS Head coach Julie Fitzgerald which aims to develop their skills as they work towards becoming the next generation of Australian Diamonds. Returning scholarship holder Alix McDermott has been named for the 2012 season, together with Kristina Brice, Courtney Bruce, Laura Clemesha, Paige Hadley, Lorna Marslen, Brooke Miller, Kimberley Ravaillion, Keeley Rodrigo, Amehlia Schmidt, Gabrielle Simpson and Amy Somerville: former AIS scholarship holders include Australian captain Natalie von Bertouch and vice captain Catherine Cox, who stood in as Diamonds captain for the recent test series against England and New Zealand.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Netball Around the World

Reigning World Champions Australia have added to their trophy cabinet this week by retaining the Constellation Cup against New Zealand with a thrilling 44-41 victory in the third and final test match between the two sides in Melbourne. The victory will also push Australia back to the top of the world rankings when they are revised at the end of the month. Inspired by a dynamic performance by mid-courter Madison Browne, Australia overturned an eight goal deficit to overcome their perennial rivals with sharpshooter Caitlin Bassett once again frustrating the Silver Ferns, scoring 20/22 in the second half as the Diamonds pushed on to take victory.

Picture show the Australian Diamonds with the Constellation Cup after victory in the third test in Melbourne

Netball’s popularity across Scandinavia continues to grow and this weekend sees a Swedish squad travel to Copenhagen to take part in an annual match between the two countries. Despite both teams taking part in a European tournament in Brussels in May, Sweden and Denmark did not face each other in that competition and so this weekend’s encounter will provide both sides with the chance to take “bragging rights” over their neighbours as awareness of and participation in netball continues to grow across the region.
Jamaica’s selectors have named three of the country’s U21 squad in its side to contest the Fast Net World Netball Series at the end of this month. Dhanyel Johnson, Deneen Taylor and Vangelee Williams have been promoted to the senior Sunshine Girls, while Tracy Ann Robinson and Vanessa Walker are included in the squad after missing the World Netball Championships in Singapore. Nadine Bryan will captain the Jamaican side, which also includes Jhanele Fowler, Jodhi Ann French, Anna-Kay Griffiths, Sasha-Gay Lynch, Malysha Kelly and Kimone Tulloch.
World Netball Series reigning champions, New Zealand, have named a strong team featuring eight Silver Ferns as they aim to make it three years in a row. Irene van Dyk, the world’s most capped netballer, will lead the side, while mid-courter Shannon Francois of the Southern Steel is named at international level for the first time. The full Silver Ferns squad for the Fast Net competition is: Irene van Dyk (capt), Kayla Cullen, Shannon Francois, Katrina Grant, Cathrine Latu, Liana Leota, Anna Scarlett, Anna Thompson, Sulu Tone-Fitzpatrick, Jess Tuki, Maria Tutaia.
2011 World Netball Series runners up England have named a squad of 15 players for the 2012 competition, which will be trimmed to 12 on 13 November. Northern Thunder’s Jade Clarke will lead the side, which also includes her Thunder teammate Sara Bayman, who returns to the squad after recovering from a serious knee injury. England’s long squad for the competition is: Jade Clarke, Sara Bayman, Eboni Beckford Chambers, Sophia Candappa, Pamela Cookey, Kadeen Corbin, Sasha Corbin, Emma Dovey, Rachel Dunn, Stacey Francis, Serena Guthrie, Jo Harten, Lindsay Keable, Laura Malcolm, Rachel Shaw.
With the line ups for the 2012 ANZ Championships now all but finalised, it has been announced that all ten teams will take part in a pre-season warm up tournament which will be played at Tauranga City’s new TECT Arena Baypark from 2-4 March 2012. The ANZ Championships season starts on 31 March 2012 with the finals to be contested in July.
America’s netballers will have increased competitive opportunities this winter with the announcement of a new three month-long competition to be played in Brooklyn, New York. Sponsorship has been secured which will enable the tournament to be played indoors, unaffected by the region’s severe weather conditions, and will feature both senior and junior teams from across one of the city’s largest and most diverse boroughs. For more information and to request an entry pack, please email .