Friday, 3 February 2012

Netball around the world

South Africa's netballers have added a new expert to their support staff who they believe will enable them to move further up the world rankings. Sherylle Calder, a world-renowned specialist in visual performance skills and their effect on improved sporting performance, has previously worked with the World Cup winning England and South African rugby teams in 2003 and 2007. Her EyeGym visual skills development programme enhances the capacity of players to assess information about performance during play and South African coach Elize Kotze is confident that this will enable her players to move up into the world's top four in the coming months.

Import players look set to make a major impact on the UK's Fiat Netball Superleague this season. Namibia's Toetsie Kambatuku was in sparkling form for Team Northumbria as they held off the challenge of Celtic Dragons 55-52, despite excellent shooting from the Welsh side's towering Grenadan shooter Lottysha Cato. Australian shooter Janelle Lawson helped Northern Thunder to a 55-45 victory over former champions Team Bath with 35 of her side's goals, to take the North-West-based franchise top of the table, level on points with Surrey Storm, who beat Loughborough Lightning 66-38.

Tanzania's Amateur Netball Association (CHANETA) has announced early planning ahead of the Africa Senior Challenge tournament, to be hosted in the country in May. The Association is aiming for the country's “long squad” of 30 players to move into a three week residential camp on 20 February, after which numbers will be reduced to 20. This group will then undergo intensive training until three weeks before the tournament, at which point the 14 to represent Tanzania at the competition – which features teams from 16 African nations – will be selected. CHANETA is also seeking coaching support from neighbouring countries to ensure that its players are the best prepared they can be for the tournament.

Preparations continue in Fiji for this summer's Pacific Netball Series (PNS) with the announcement of an umpires coaching clinic on 18 February, which will be held in conjunction with bench officials training. All umpires from districts in Fiji, together with interested teachers, secondary school students and umpires have been invited to the day-long session, which aims to increase the number of accredited officials across the country and thus provide opportunities for Fijian officials to take part in the PNS.

The Cayman Islands 2012 Netball League is now under way and has already seen a major shock, with National Bank All Stars B overcoming defending champions Roma A 37-35 in a
thrilling match this week. Meanwhile, in the Gulf, Rugby Club 'A' laid down a marker for their competitors in the opening round of the DHL Bahrain Netball Cup at the British Club in Umm Al Hassam. The Rugby Club side followed up their impressive 31-13 league win over close rivals British Club 'A' with a 64-6 victory over the luckless Sri Lankan Club.
Elsewhere, there were also wins for Dilmun Champion 'A', British Club 'A' and Dilmun Champion 'B', who all advance to the cup semi-finals.

Australian Diamond Sharelle McMahon pictured below returned to competitive action this week, after recovering from an Achilles tendon injury which kept her out of the Netball World Championships in Singapore. McMahon took to the court for Melbourne Vixens in a pre-season match against Victorian Netball League team Boroondara Genesis, and moved freely before being replaced at half time.

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