Friday, 20 January 2012

Netball around the world

Congratulations to Hong Kong, who registered two wins from two games to emerge champions at a tri-nations competition against neighbours Chinese Taipei and Thailand this week. The competition was designed to provide increased competitive exposure for teams from the region, as part of their preparations for the Asian Championships which will be held in August. Chinese Taipei also played a young Hong Kong side, and registered their first international victory with a 46-38 win. The Hong Kong Netball Association is confident that the tournament will become an annual event and will use it to develop players and officials in the future.

Inspirational Silver Ferns captain, Casey Williams, returns to action with the New Zealand squad for the first time in six months this weekend, after recovering from major ankle surgery which she underwent last September. The star defender, who went under the surgeon's knife to repair damage sustained by years playing at the top level, will join the international squad for the first of two training camps, where they will be joined by members of New Zealand's accelerant group.

The president of the Uganda Netball Association, Susan Ongom, will be seeking a second term as president at elections to be held by the Uganda Netball Federation in the coming weeks.

The Antigua Netball Association Inter-Schools competition got under way this week, with 21 schools taking part at U18, U16 and U13 level. Princess Margaret Secondary School is the reigning U16 champions, while Pares Secondary School holds the U18 crown. Meanwhile, Care Hall Secondary School will be defending its U13 championships.

The Jamaica Netball Association has announced its plans to boost the performances of its international teams during the coming season, with the senior Sunshine Girls scheduled to meet South Africa in a test series later this year, as well as taking part in the Caribbean tournament in July. Meanwhile the young Sunshine Girls will host an Australian U21 touring squad during the summer, as well as honouring a reciprocal arrangement made with a team that travelled to the island from the UK last year.

Netball continues to increase in popularity in Pakistan, with increased competitive opportunities for players of all age groups. This week, the Frontier College for Women upset Government Girls College Nowshera by 13-12 goals in the final of the Inter-College Women Netball Championship played under the aegis of Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Women University. Meanwhile, the Pakistan Netball Federation has confirmed it will be organising the ASC Netball Coaching, Development & Tournament Program 2012 for Girls in Karachi this weekend, in collaboration with Australian Sports Commission (ASC) & Sindh Netball Association. More than 100 schools, colleges and universities have been invited to take part in the programme, which will provide coaching and umpiring advice as well as fitness and general netball skills training for participants.

In the UK, Northern Thunder won the Fast Net Grand Prix pre-season tournament, beating Yorkshire Jets 35-21 in the final. The event saw the top two teams from both the northern and southern conferences compete in a one off finals weekend, from which Thunder emerged victorious. They defeated hosts Surrey Storm 27-21 to progress to the final, while the Jets defeated Celtic Dragons and Storm to join them in the play off.

Hosts the Glasgow Wildcats held off competition from across the British Isles to take the title at the inaugural British Invitational tournament last weekend. The tournament was created with financial assistance from Glasgow City Council to help develop a squad of elite players that will represent Scotland at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. Glasgow Wildcats were undefeated across the weekend, registering wins over a Northern Ireland select squad, the England U21 squad and Premier Force, a side featuring some of the best players from the south of England.

Finally this week, Welsh Netball has launched a new website to support its franchise in the UK's Netball Superleague. will provide regular updates and information on the squad's progress, and Welsh Netball is confident that the increased visibility that it brings will assist in the association's quest for sponsorship support in the coming season.

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