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Netball from around the Globe by Rona Hunnisett
Meanwhile, the next generation of Singapore stars was on display this week, at the country's National Inter-School Netball Championships. The Singapore Sports School took the Girls “B” division gold medal with an emphatic 27-14 win over arch rivals CHIJ Toa Payoh while Tanjong Katong Secondary School scored a 32-25 win over Nanyang Girls' High School to claim their first national honours in the “C” division competition.
England's selectors have named a young squad to defend the country's Netball Europe open championships title in Sheffield from 25-27 May. Captained by experienced shooter Pamela Cookey, the line up contains a number of players who made their international debuts in the recent series win over Barbados. The remaining players named are: Kerry Almond, Kadeen Corbin, Sasha Corbin, Emma Dovey, Rachel Dunn, Gemma Fletcher, Jodie Gibson, Naida Hutchinson, Laura Malcolm, Mia Ritchie, Rachel Shaw.
South Africa's Proteas are to tour Jamaica in June, and will play three test matches against the Sunshine Girls as the African side looks to move up to steal the Caribbean islanders' fourth place world ranking from them. South African captain Amanda Myndhardt, who is currently playing club netball in New Zealand, has declared herself available for the tour. In addition to the Jamaican tests, South Africa will face Northern Ireland in a test match in July before taking part in the Quad Series in Australia and New Zealand later in the year.
Surrey Storm currently sit at the top of the UK's Netball Superleague top tier, after recording their second win over rivals Northern Thunder in three weeks with a 61-57 victory. Hertfordshire Mavericks defeated TeamBath 52-47 to move into third place in the top group, while Celtic Dragons kept up the pressure for the final play off place with a 61-42 victory over Yorkshire Jets in the competition's lower tier.
A much improved performance from New Zealand's Waikato/BOP Magic was still not enough to register the side's first win of the 2012 ANZ Championship season this week, when they were edged out 40-39 by Melbourne Vixens in the dying seconds of the game. Table toppers the Vixens are now the only undefeated side left in the competition, after the visiting Adelaide Thunderbirds held their nerve to take a 50-48 win against the Northern Mystics in Auckland. The “curse of the champions” continued for reigning premiers the Queensland Firebirds, who could not counter the strength of the NSW Swifts, losing 54-49, while in the week's other matches, the West Coast Fever held on to take a 53-56 win over the Southern Steel and the Central Pulse beat Kiwi rivals the Canterbury Tactix 50-45.
In Pakistan, Faiz Ahmed Faiz School took top honours in a two day tournament in Lodhran, as a talent-hunt programme, funded jointly by the Australian Sports Commission and the Pakistan Netball Federation, reached its conclusion. 160 players from 13 schools in the area took part in the competition, which was used to promote netball as well as identify 20 players who will now progress to a training camp in Islamabad in May before travelling to Brisbane for international experience.
Finally, congratulations to netballers from Lower Hutt in New Zealand who this week marked the opening weekend of the local netball season by breaking the world record for the most consecutive netball passes – a total of 218. Hutt City mayor Ray Wallace was the first to throw the ball, and others who caught it and passed it on included Central Pulse netball players Te Huinga Reo Selby-Rickit and Katrina Cooper. Each person had to be eight feet apart and the ball had to be thrown consecutively for the record to be broken. Two videos of the event along with official paperwork have now been sent to Guinness World Records for assessment and ratification of the record.
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