Friday, 10 February 2012

Netball around the world

In Pakistan, Army defeated Punjab 19-14 to win the 10th National Women’s Netball Championship crown this week. IOC member in Pakistan and Punjab Olympic Association President Syed Shahid Ali graced the occasion as a chief guest and is pictured with the winning team at the prize presentation ceremony. At the conclusion of the competition, it was announced that 20 girls from the championships have been selected for the Pakistan squad which will play a five match home test series against India next month. A return series to India is also planned for later in the year.

The ANZ Championships will be without two key international stars this season, after it was announced that former Australian captain Sharelle McMahon and Kiwi international Wendy Frew will both miss the 2012 competition as they are pregnant. The two stars' teams, the Melbourne Vixens and the Southern Steel respectively have applied to the organisers of the league to name replacement players for the pair.

South African captain Amanda Myndhardt has confirmed that she will be travelling to New Zealand at the end of February with the aim of increasing her netball experience. Myndhardt, 26, aims to play for an amateur club and will return to South Africa at the end of July, unless she is selected for the National Provincial Championships, in which case she will delay her return until October.

Vanuatu Netball Association has revived its Duck Duck netball training programme for children aged 3-9, which will run for the next six weeks. During the sessions, the children are introduced to basic netball skills and drills, and are coached by members of the Vanuatu national squad.

In the USA, a link between the USA Netball Association and the largest after school programme in the country has made a successful start, with a pilot programme in North Carolina, led by coach Edna Cassells and members of the Florida Netball Association. Members of the after school Boys and Girls Club have been introduced to netball in a “taster” session, and have opted to include netball as part of the after school programme moving forwards, under the watchful eye of a local basketball coach. More after school initiatives to extend the outreach of netball are expected in the coming months.

In the latest rounds of the Fiat Netball Superleague in the UK, Celtic Dragons shocked reigning champions Mavericks to take a well deserved 48-39 victory. Grenada's Lottysha Cato was once again the Dragons' spearhead in attack, netting 30 of her side's goals and making life difficult for Mavericks' defensive line. However, the Hertfordshire side's backline will be strengthened for this week's match against Team Northumbria by the return of England international Naida Hutchinson, who has missed the past 22 months of action with a serious knee injury. In the week's other matches, Surrey Storm were too strong for former champions TeamBath, taking a 65-52 win in their encounter: Northern Thunder moved to the top of the table, equal on points with Storm, thanks to a 66-34 win at Loughborough Lightning.

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