In the UK, leading dairy supplier Dairy Crest is to sponsor two netball events in the coming year to build awareness of its brands among netballers. The Cathedral City Mature Lighter Cheddar Fast Net Grand Prix will take place in January, featuring all eight franchises from the Netball Superleague, playing in Northern and Southern conference competitions. The winners from each region will qualify for the competition finals, which will take place at the Surrey Sports Park on 13 January 2012. The brand will also be the official dairy sponsor for the Netball Superleague in 2012 and 2013.
Meanwhile, England's Netball Talent League – featuring players aged 14-19 years old representing the eight Superleague franchises, plus the South and West Midlands regions – got under way with a two day festival involving all of the teams. After three matches, Northern Thunder's youth emerged undefeated to lead the table, while West Midlands Warriors, Yorkshire Jets, Mavericks Youth, Surrey Storm Youth and Team South all took two wins from three games.
Fiji coach Unaisi Rokoura is planning to use the skills her side learned at the World Netball Series in Liverpool last month to boost their performances in internationals during 2012.
Despite losing all their matches in their first appearance at the Fastnet competition, Rokoura has highlighted the improvements in decision making and concentration that the new format has given her players, as well as drawing attention to the importance of making the correct coaching moves at the right time. Rokoura is now putting these lessons into practice and, with her players, aims to use Fastnet more regularly in training sessions during 2012 to speed up her players' reactions to on-court situations.
In Africa, it has been confirmed that the National Netball Association of Swaziland (NNAS) will host the Confederation of Southern African Netball Associations (COSANA) Games next year. The Swaziland Sports Council has promised financial assistance to NNAS to fund the competition, which provides competitive opportunities for nations across Southern Africa.
In the Solomon Islands, support from the Ministry of Home Affairs to Waikaru Trust Association of Santa Ana has ensured that the Santa Ana Festive tournament has been staged for the first time in more than 10 years. 17 teams from Santa Ana, as well as the adjacent island of Santa Catalina and Star Harbour are currently battling it out for the championships, as well as a generous cash prize. It is hoped that the reinstatement of this tournament will revive interest in netball across Santa Ana as well as the neighbouring islands, as there have been few competitive opportunities available to young players in recent years.
Christmas held an extra-special surprise for one Bermudan netballer this week, when the Bermuda Netball Association (BNA) presented former Clearwater Middle School head girl Asante Chapman with a $1,000 cheque. The money was given in recognition of the progress the 14 year old netballer has made in the UK since being accepted into the Elite Surrey Netball Academy in the UK, where Chapman is currently studying. Since she plays regularly in “lucky” colourful socks, the BNA asked Chapman's local association players to arrive for the last game before Christmas in long multi-colour socks as a surprise for her! Asante is pictured receiving her cheque from the BNA President, Tracey Sheriff and Minister of Youth Affairs and Families, Glen Blackney.
Finally this week, on behalf of everyone at IFNA, we would like to wish all our Members, supporters and friends a very happy and successful 2012!