Thursday, 22 December 2011

Netball around the World

England's U17 squad for the 2012 Netball Europe championships will be without one of its star performers from the past couple of seasons, after it was announced that 16 year old Lottie Richardson has secured a contract to play in Australia in the New Year. Recommended by former England coach Sue Hawkins, Richardson has signed with current state champions Manly Warringah to play in their first team for the 2012 season and will be combining her netballing career with studying for her A levels, returning to her home in Truro, Cornwall several times each year.

In Richardson's absence, England's selectors have this week announced their U17, U19 and U21 squads to contest the 2012 Netball Europe championships. Sophia Candappa and Rachel Shaw, who debuted in the senior England squad during 2011, have been named in the U21 side which will travel to Northern Ireland with the U19 squad, while the U17 competition takes place in Scotland. The full squad lists are available at

Another name familiar to England netball fans is also travelling to the Southern Hemisphere to take up a new role for 2012. Andrew Crook, until recently the general manager of the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague, has been appointed as general manager for the ANZ Championships and will take up his position in February. A former South Australian cricketer, Crook will be based at the ANZ Championships offices in Melbourne and Auckland.

The Zimbabwe Netball Association (ZNA) has invited four of its strongest club sides to take part in the Chama cha Revolution Netball Cup in Zanzibar from 6-12 January 2012. The sides, which finished in the top four positions in Zimbabwe's national league, have been invited to attend after funding to send the country's national team to the competition could not be allocated. Reigning national champions Railstars, runners up Nehanda Nyakasikana, Zimbawe Defence Forces and Tenax are expected to confirm their participation this week.

Jamaica's Manchester Netball Association (MNA) completed its first competition since being reorganised in May, by co-ordinating a rally for four local sides this week. Legendary, one of the oldest clubs in the region, emerged unbeaten throughout the day, and scooped the top prize of J$25,000 (approx $290US) as well as medals and playing equipment.

Fiji's selectors have invited almost 200 players to trials for the country's U21 squad, which will take place early in the New Year. As part of the selection process, the players will undergo rigorous fitness testing as the Fijian side looks towards the 2013 World Youth Championships.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Netball Around the World

Fiji's netballers created history this week by winning the country's first FairPrice Foundation Nations Cup title in Singapore. Young shooter Unaisi Kubunameca Rauluni was named player of the tournament.

The Unaisi Rokoura-coached side defeated hosts Singapore 51-42 in the grand final, to end their bid to take a third title at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall, after the home side took the title in 2006 and 2007. Despite leading 14-11 at the first interval, Singapore found it hard to contend with Fiji's short, sharp passing game, and with a number of new internationals on court to gain international experience ahead of the World Youth Netball Championships in 2013, the Pacific side re-grouped to take the lead 28-18 at half time. The home team fought back in the third quarter, inspired by some dogged defensive work by veteran Charlene Porimah, they managed to close the gap to seven goals, but Fiji was not to be denied the title, and refocused in the final period to close out the game.

Photograph shows Fiji's winning team from the recent Nations Cup competition in Singapore.

World number 23 Malaysia edged out Namibia, currently ranked 24 in the world 52-47 to take third place, while the fifth and sixth place play off saw a thrilling goal-fest from which Sri Lanka, ranked 18, edged out Papua New Guinea, currently 17, 73-71.

Wales sealed a 3-0 series win over close rivals Scotland this week with a 36-22 victory in the final game of the series. Wales took the first two matches between the two European nations 39-33 and 48-26.

As a pre-cursor to the 2012 ANZ Championships season, Melbourne Vixens have announced that the side will play its final pre-season match against the Adelaide Thunderbirds in Bendigo – the first time national league teams have played in regional Victoria. The match, to be held at the end of March, will be the main attraction of a three day event which aims to promote netball across the area while showcasing Bendigo as a possible home base for a state league netball side. Meanwhile, with one eye on the 2013 World Youth Netball Championships, Australia coach, Lisa Alexander, has been leading an 18 day camp for the country's extended U21 squad of 25 players at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

The 2011-12 Jamaica Netball Association (JNA)/Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) Open league competition is now under way, with former champions Tivoli Gardens A setting the pace with a 31-20 win over UWI Pelicans. Tivoli Gardens, featuring a host of current and former internationals in its line up, last won the competition in 2009.

In England, ten young netballers aged 15-17 have been selected to take part in the seventh National Talent Camp run by the Youth Sports Trust, which takes place next week in Loughborough. While at the camp, the players will join nearly 100 aspiring Olympians and Paralympians and gain a unique insight into the world of performance sport and the challenges which lie ahead for them.

Finally, following England's success at the recent World Netball Series in Liverpool, England Netball has announced that the eight teams in the Fiat Netball SuperLeague will compete in the country's first Cathedral City Lighter Fastnet Grand Prix, as a warm up for the 2012 SuperLeague season. Played over two weekends in January 2012, the competition will group the sides into Northern and Southern conferences, before the winners face off in the Grand Final on Friday 13 January 2012. For more information, including ticket details, please visit

Photograph shows Fiji's winning team from the recent Nations Cup competition in Singapore.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Netball Around the World

Pre-tournament favourites Fiji are currently at the top of the table in the Netball Nations Cup, being played in Singapore this week, with one round of matches remaining ahead of the finals series. The Fijians, fresh from their first appearance at the World Netball Series in the UK last weekend, have been in dominant form throughout the tournament, and brushed past Singapore – who came within one goal of defeating the Pacific Islanders at this summer's World Championships – 47-35 in the group stages. The two look set to meet again in Sunday's grand final.

Elsewhere in the competition, with ranking points at stake, several upsets have taken place. The home nation avenged their loss to Sri Lanka at this summer's Asian Championships with a comprehensive 73-36 win over the team ranked three places ahead of them, before defeating Papua New Guinea 54-36 and Namibia 53-43. Meanwhile, 23rd-ranked Malaysia defeated 17th-ranked Papua New Guinea 53-51 in a thrilling group encounter.

Photo shows team captains and coaches at the start of the tournament.

In domestic competitions, Malawi's OG Issa Southern Region Netball Championships have been won by Escom Sisters for the third year in a row, after a final 43-40 victory over Bingu Tigresses. Escom's Australia-based shooter, Mwayi Kumwende, provided the inspiration for her side's victory and despite pegging back Escom's lead to a single goal at three quarter time, the Tigresses could find no way to combat Kumwende's accuracy and speed of movement.

Future Sunshine girls were on show this week as Manchester High and Holmwood Technical Schools scooped Jamaica's ISSA/Digicel All-Island Junior and Senior leagues high schoolgirl titles, defeating St Hugh's High and St Andrew High respectively at the competitions' finals. The wins ensured that both sides completed their seasons undefeated.

Netball New Zealand is also looking to the future this week, by naming the 26 players selected as triallists for the 2012 New Zealand Secondary Schools squad. The trials are to be held in Auckland from 13-15 April 2012, after which 12 players will be chosen to represent their country at the Trans-Tasman Secondary Schools tournament, to be held in Adelaide at the end of May. For further information, please visit

Netballers in the Solomon Islands are preparing for the annual West Are' Are Cup “Unity Through Sports” tournament, which will take place from 15-24 December. 15 teams have entered the competition which will take a round-robin format and cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams.

Australian awareness of netball received a welcome boost this week with the announcement that Adelaide Thunderbirds and Australia captain Natalie von Bertouch has been included in the latest edition of “Who's Who?” Von Bertouch, currently recovering from foot surgery after an injury forced her to miss the Constellation Cup this autumn, is named alongside a host of other sporting superstars, including Australian cricket star Shane Watson and round-the-world sailor Jessica Watson.

Finally, netball continues to enjoy a boost in popularity in the Gulf states, with the Kuwait Netball Association announcing that it now has 150 members at adult and junior level. The 2011 Inter- Gulf Tournament will be held in Al-Ain on the 8th, 9th and 10th of March 2012 and Kuwait will send a ladies' and mens' team to the competition. For more information, please visit

Thursday, 8 December 2011


A team of experts from the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) and IFNA Regional Federation, Africa Netball, arrive in Botswana today for the Inaugural Africa Coaching & Officiating Framework Seminar.

The Seminar is the start of a move to develop and implement a plan to raise the standard of netball across the Region, allowing the Region’s national teams to compete on the world stage.

IFNA Global Development Manager, Sarah Pickford said:
“Netballers in Africa clearly have the potential to take on and beat the best in the world on the netball court.”
In order to do this there is a need to develop increasingly effective coaching, officiating, governance and administration practices to support strong player pathways and competition structures.
This integrated approach is highlighted in IFNA’s new Strategy, Game Plan 2012-2016, launched in July 2011. The continued backing of UK Sport and the Commonwealth Games Federation has enabled IFNA to work with colleagues to explore how this can best be applied to benefit the Africa Region.
IFNA is excited to be able to assist Africa Netball and IFNA Members in working to raise standards of provision for netball, and looks forward to seeing African teams progressing up the world rankings, to compete at the highest level for years to come.”

Member Federations involved in the Seminar include:
• Botswana
• Lesotho
• Namibia
• Swaziland
• Uganda
• Zimbabwe

Delegates, with expertise in coaching and officiating, will not only benefit from the knowledge and experience of the IFNA team but will also play their part in planning the way forward for netball in Africa.
All delegates will then return to their counties and work with colleagues to develop structures that will allow their national teams to perform at the highest level. IFNA and Africa Netball will continue to support this process through Africa Regional Development Manager, Joan Smit.

The work here will link in with and complement the Supreme Council for Sport in Africa (SCSA) Zone VI Sport Education & Accreditation Framework (SEAF) and IFNA will be liaising closely with SEAS Project Officer, Mr Petros Munashe Mrape, to ensure the two projects link together.
Further work will be undertaken at the Africa Netball AGM in May 2012.

IFNA Board Member and Africa Netball President, Tebogo Lebotse said:
“Africa Netball presents great potential to grow the game of netball internationally. There is untapped talent and this workshop is a step in the right direction for Africa Netball to have a standard of how to tap in on that potential.”’

IFNA Africa Regional Development Manager Joan Smit stated:
“This is indeed a long-awaited opportunity for our netball coaches and officials in Africa. Most of the participants who will be in Gaborone attended the International Coaching Seminar that was held alongside the World Netball Championships in Singapore in July and they look forward to building further on the knowledge obtained. We are very excited that Africa will be the first continent to embark on such a project and I am confident about the success and sustainability of this project.”

Friday, 2 December 2011

Netball Around the World

England's Fast Net squad took the 2011 World Netball Series title with a defeat of holders New Zealand 33-26 in the final, to reverse the result of last year's concluding game. England's win was founded on superb defensive displays by Eboni Beckford Chambers and Stacey Francis and strong all-court pressure which forced the opposition into errors, together with controlled attacking work during the power play quarter, which allowed the home side to stretch ahead. Having finished the group stages undefeated but losing 27-17 to England in the semi-final, Australia took third place with a 32-24 win over Jamaica. South Africa ended the competition in fifth place, having defeated competition debutantes Fiji 24-19 in the last play off.

The 2012 World Netball Series will be held in New Zealand: IFNA announced this week that the three day competition will be played at the Vector Arena in Auckland from 9-11 November 2012. The top six ranked teams in the world will once again take part in the tournament, played under the amended Fast Net rules.

More success for England - Congratulations to Anita Navin - The UK Coaching Awards 2011 honour sports coaches and coaching organisations who have demonstrated outstanding success over the previous 12 months. Anita won the Coach Educator of the Year Award last night this Award was supported by Coachwise. Her work around UKCC, continuous professional development and coach research have been key to ensuring netball has appropriately skilled coaches at all levels and environments.

Picture shows Anita being presented her award by Hugh Robertson MP Minister for Sport and the Olympics.

Following England's victory at the World Netball Series, England Netball has announced the appointment of Anna Mayes as the country's new Head Coach. Mayes, a former Welsh international and TeamBath player in the Netball SuperLeague, was previously assistant coach to Sue Hawkins. Maggie Jackson, who coached Mavericks to the Fiat Netball SuperLeague title in 2011, has been named as head of elite coach development.

The eyes of the netballing world now turn to Singapore, which hosts the Nations Cup next weekend. Namibia's netballers leave their country today to travel to Asia and start preparations for the competition and the other participants – Fiji, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka – are expected to arrive shortly. The competition starts on Monday (5 December), with Namibia opening its account against Papua New Guinea. Organisers, Netball Singapore, have announced that the competition will be televised, with coverage secured worldwide through StarHub, Setanta Sports, Astro Arena, One World Sports and Eurosport:
check local listings for timings, and visit for more information.

IFNA's technical delegate Joan Mills and CEO of Netball Scotland Maggie Murray have completed a visit to Glasgow this week to assess progress in preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. During the trip, which included travelling to the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre SECC (where preliminary rounds of the netball competition will be played) and the site of the Scottish National Arena (which will host the medal rounds), the pair was impressed with the progress that has been made in construction and completion of the venues and both are confident that the games will be “fantastic”.

Netballers on New Zealand's South Island received a welcome boost this week with the news that the new Stadium Southland now has a new 60m, 50 tonne roof truss in place, which will ensure that the roof can be completed rapidly. The reconstruction of the Southland complex, home to the Southern Steel as well as key local and regional competitions, was required after a heavy snowfall caused a roof collapse in September this year.

In Jamaica, one of the country's leading schools competition reaches its climax this weekend, with Anchovy High looking to claim its first-ever title when the squad faces Manchester High in the ISSA/Digicel Rural Area Schoolgirls junior league final later today. The senior league title will also be decided today with defending champions Denbigh facing former champions Holmwood, whose line up has been strengthened significantly by the return of shooter Deneen Taylor, who was on international duty with the Sunshine Girls at the World Netball Series in Liverpool.

Finally, it seems that international netballers never take a break from the game, even when on holiday! Veteran Australian international Catherine Cox took time out from a vacation in Fiji this week to provide some expert coaching for the University of South Pacific mens' team, which competes in the Suva Mens' and Mixed netball leagues. Cox, who is resting ahead of pre-season training with the West Coast Fever for the 2012 ANZ Championships season, took the players through a series of warm up exercises before introducing some international drills and plays which can be incorporated into their league activities moving forwards.