Monday, 28 January 2013

England’s netballers made history this week, winning a whitewash series against world number one side Australia for the first time ever. After taking the first test 58-53 in Bath, England made certain of a series win with a gritty and determined performance in the second game, winning it 51-49 after withstanding intense pressure from the Diamonds. The Australian side, already weakened by the non-availability of several of its big names for the tour, had to contend with the loss of captain Natalie von Bertouch due to injury before the start of the first game. However, this gave an opportunity for Queensland Firebirds’ new signing Kim Ravaillon, who has now achieved her first two international caps before taking to the court in the ANZ Championships. The final match of the series took place on Saturday in Birmingham with a final score of 58 -51.

Von Bertouch returned home to Australia and underwent surgery this week to repair the damage to her finger, which was caused in a practice match against Northern Ireland last weekend. The Diamonds captain is now in a race to regain fitness ahead of the start of the ANZ Championships season, where she will once again line up for the Adelaide Thunderbirds.

Jamaican shooter Jhaniele Fowler is settling into a new, colder environment this week, after arriving in Invercargill to take up her position as import for the Southern Steel for this year’s ANZ Championships. Fowler, who was one of the leading shooters at the recent Fast5 tournament in Auckland, will have a familiar face on court with her in the first round of the competition, as the Steel will face the Queensland Firebirds, with Fowler’s fellow Jamaica Romelda Aiken as the spearhead of their attack.

Village netball competitions have restarted in Samoa after the festive break, with tournaments being organised on Savaii in Palauli, Vaitoomuli and Suifaga this week. The tournaments are intended as an introduction to competitive netball for players and will also provide an opportunity for talent identification ahead of Samoa’s U21 and National Squad trials, which are to take place in Apia on 8 and 9 February.

Across the Pacific in Tonga, the country’s first “Te Tau Lava” competition will be held in March, on 9, 16 and 23rd. For more information and to register a team, please visit Tonga Netball’s Facebook page - Entries open on 4 February and close on 1 March.

Victoria Lakshmi has been elected president of Netball Federation of Sri Lanka at its Annual General Meeting this week. Lakshmi, who is also the netball secretary of Peoples Bank and the tournament secretary of the Nationalised Services Netball Association, will be supported in her new role by Shyama Cooray who was elected as the Federation’s secretary.

Finally, congratulations to the Singapore players selected for the country’s U21 side which is set to face South Africa in a series of warm up games for the World Youth Championships during the first week of February. The selected players are: Koh Hin Ann, Nur Aqilah Afiqah, Olivia Chen, Kor Li Jie, Shelby Koh, Cheryl Ann Lee, Parveen Nair, Geraldine Ng, Jocelyn Ng, Siti Nurshawallah Binte Rashid, Farah Shakina, Tan Shini, Melissa Teo, Joanna Toh, Nur Athirah Bte Zulkiffle

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Netball around the world

England beat world number one side, the Australian Diamonds in Bath on 20 January 58 -53. England, ranked number three in the world, have only ever beaten the Diamonds twice in their 59 previous meetings, once in 1981 and once on home soil in 2010. The next match in the three Test Match Series is played tonight in London and the last match will be on Saturday in Birmingham.

Namibian netball captain Toetsie Kambatuku (pictured) will continue her netball career and education in the UK, after news that she has been awarded a three year scholarship by the University of Northumbria. Kambatuku, who has played for Team Northumbria in the UK’s Netball Superleague since 2010, will enrol for a degree in education, with all her study costs and living expenses covered by the university.

Links between netball and further education have also been forged in the Caribbean with news that the Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) is to award two scholarships to study at the UTech School of Sports Science to two members of the Jamaica Netball Association’s coaching staff. The selected members of staff will participate in the JNA/UTech Advanced Level One coaching course which aims to improve training standards across the country. JNBS has also announced financial support for the Sunshine Girls’ tour of England, scheduled to take place in April as well as backing for Jamaica’s leading club championships, which has now been named the JNBS/JNA Sunshine Open League.

Africa’s leading team, the Malawi Queens, has received a commercial boost this week with the news that the side is to be sponsored for the first time, courtesy of television provider Malawi Multichoice. In addition to support for the country’s national side, Malawi Multichoice is also to introduce a national club competition, featuring Malawi’s five leading teams, for which the company will cover all organisational costs as well as providing a prize fund.

Across the continent, netball has been revived in the rural villages of North Mozambique by a grassroots organisation called Manda Wilderness Community Trust. The Trust, which works with sixteen villages in the conservation area near the shore of Lake Malawi/Niassa, has established regular training and competitive games for local womens’ teams and interest in the competition is growing steadily. If you would like to donate netball equipment or funds for this project, please contact Lily Bunker at For more information about the Trust and its work, please visit

Tanzania’s Taifa Queens have announced their intention to play more international matches in the coming months, as the side attempts to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The side, currently ranked 17th in the world, recently took the Nations Cup competition in Singapore, ending the tournament undefeated, and will now look to play more matches against other African nations in order to move up the world rankings and break into the world’s top ten sides.

Back in Australia, the Victorian government has announced $30,000AU(approx. $31,600US) funding to enable Netball Victoria to host the first Melbourne Vixens Summer Challenge on 23 and 24 February. Seven ANZ Championship teams from Australia and New Zealand (Adelaide Thunderbirds, Canterbury Tactix, Melbourne Vixens, NSW Swifts, Queensland Firebirds, Southern Steel, West Coast Fever) will take part in the pre-ANZ Championships competition, which is to be played at Melbourne’s State Netball and Hockey Centre.

ANZ Championship side the Northern Mystics will be without Silver Ferns defender Charlotte Kight for the 2013 season, after the news that she had ruptured her Achilles tendon during pre-season training. Also this week, the Mystics named internationals Anna Harrison and Maria Tutaia as co-captains for the year.