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Netball - 01. July 2016.

Global News From Around The World by Rona Hunnisett

Forget Brexit, there were other celebrations and controversy making 
headlines this week in the UK, with the announcement of the franchises 
which have been successful in bidding for a place in the UK's Netball 
Superleague for the next four years.  Premiership rugby union side Wasps 
will make history by expanding into female performance sport with its 
franchise, based near Coventry.  At the helm of the new squad will be 
director of netball Tamsin Greenway, who is leaving Surrey Storm after 
seven years in charge.  Wasps will be joined in the new look league by 
Severn Stars, a side based at the University of Gloucestershire, and 
Scottish Sirens, based in Glasgow.

However, there was disappointment for Yorkshire Jets, after the decision 
not to award the franchise to the side, based in the UK's largest 
county, was leaked on social media ahead of the official announcement.  
The Jets franchise, which ended the 2015 season in fourth place, was 
deemed unable to evidence a major investor to help make the transition 
that England Netball requires of the franchises moving forwards. In 
addition, a condition for the 2017 season was staging games in venues 
which seat 1,500 people, something which cannot be delivered by the 
infrastructure in Yorkshire at present.

The successful development pathways created by Jets were obvious as 
England Netball's World Class training programme got under way at 
Loughborough University.  Jet's Jess Shaw is among ten players who have 
signed full time player contracts ahead of the training camp which will 
prepare England's side for the inaugural Quad Series, to be held in 
Australia and New Zealand in August.  England players currently taking 
part in the ANZ Championships are in discussions regarding link ups with 
the camp later this summer, and screening and trials will be held in 
July for any players outside the fulltime agreement who wish to be 
considered for selection.  In addition to Shaw, those taking up the 
agreements are:  Rebekah Airey, Summer Artman, Ella Clark, Beth Cobden, 
Sasha Corbin, George Fisher, Hannah Joseph, Leah Kennedy, Natalie 
Panagarry, Jess Shaw

Another link between rugby and netball was cemented this week in the 
Southern Hemisphere, as former Crusaders' lock forward Steve Lancaster 
took over the reins of Netball New Zealand, while the organisation 
continues its search for a new chief executive, to replace Hilary Poole, 
who left NNZ after three years.  Lancaster, high performance director, 
and Jennie Wyllie, head of finance and services, have been jointly 
appointed in a caretaker role, with a full time appointment expected 
later in July.

The Solomon Islands Netball Federation (SINFED) is continuing to develop 
the game across the country, with news that all but two of the country's 
provinces will take part in the National U21 championships, to be held 
in Lata in November.  Sadly, Central and Makira are unable to take part 
due to insufficient funding.  Sponsor Our Telekom is currently funding 
tournaments across the provinces to aide team selection and development. 
SINFED will be using the tournament to scout potential U17 players for 
the Pacific Games in 2023 and other U21 players who could be added to 
the training squad for the upcoming  Vanuatu and Tonga Games.

The ANZ Championships reaches its final weekend of group games this 
weekend, with the play off line up still far from settled.  In New 
Zealand, while the Southern Steel is assured of the top spot, and 
Waikato BOP Magic will finish second, the remaining three in the 
conference - Northern Mystics, Mainland Tactix or Central Pulse - are 
vying for one finals spot.    The Australian top two - NSW Swifts and 
Queensland Firebirds - is settled but the final play off place could go 
to the West Coast Fever (who travel to face the Firebirds) or the 
Vixens.  The Melbourne side lost shooter Karyn Bailey this week to a 
season-ending knee injury, and their play off hopes now rest on the 
ability of their young front line to take the win and notch up a big 
score against Central Pulse, the only Kiwi side without a chance of 
finals action.

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