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 www.mynetball.co.nz
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 www.kuwaitnetball.com.