England's FastNet squad took the 2011 World Netball Series title with a 33-26 defeat of holders New Zealand 33-26 in the final, to reverse the result of last year's concluding game. England's win was founded on superb defensive displays by Eboni Beckford Chambers and Stacey Francis and strong all-court pressure which forced the opposition into errors, together with controlled attacking work during the powerplay quarter, which allowed the home side to stretch ahead. Having finished the group stages undefeated but losing 27-17 to England in the semi-final, Australia took third place with a 32-24 win over Jamaica. South Africa ended the competition in fifth place, having defeated competition debutantes Fiji 24-19 in the last play off.
The 2012 World Netball Series will be held in New Zealand: IFNA announced this week that the three day competition will be played at the Vector Arena in Auckland from 9-11 November 2012. The top six ranked teams in the world will once again take part in the tournament, played under the amended FastNet rules.
Following England's victory at the World Netball Series, England Netball has announced the appointment of Anna Mayes as the country's new Head Coach. Mayes, a former Welsh international and TeamBath player in the Netball Superleague, was previously assistant coach to Sue Hawkins. Maggie Jackson, who coached Mavericks to the Fiat Netball Superleague title in 2011, has been named as head of elite coach development.
The eyes of the netballing world now turn to Singapore, which hosts the Nations Cup next weekend. Namibia's netballers leave their country today to travel to Asia and start preparations for the competition and the other participants – Fiji, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Sri Lanka – are expected to arrive shortly. The competition starts on Monday (5 December), with Namibia opening its account against Papua New Guinea. Organisers, Netball Singapore, have announced that the competition will be televised, with coverage secured worldwide throught StarHub, Setanta Sports, Astro Arena, One World Sports and Eurosport: check local listings for timings, and visit http://www.netball.org.sg/competitions/fairprice-foundation-nations-cup-2011 for more information.
IFNA's technical delegate Joan Mills and CEO of Netball Scotland Maggie Murray have completed a visit to Glasgow this week to assess progress in preparations for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. During the trip, which included travelling to the SECC (where preliminary rounds of the netball competition will be played) and the site of the Scottish National Arena (which will host the medal rounds), the pair was impressed with the progress that has been madei n construction and completion of the venues and both are confident that the games will be “fantastic”.
Netballers on New Zealand's South Island received a welcome boost this week with the news that the new Stadium Southland now has a new 60m, 50 tonne roof truss in place, which will ensure that the roof can be completed rapidly. The reconstruction of the Southland complex, home to the Southern Steel as well as key local and regional competitions, was required after a heavy snowfall caused a roof collapse in September this year.
From next year, netballers in East Africa will have a new international competition, with the news that the Zanzibar Mapinduzi Cup will include a netball competition for the first time. The country's netball association, Chaneza, has agreed to invite national teams from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe to take part in the tournament, which is staged alongside an international football competition.
In Jamaica, one of the country's leading schools competition reaches its climax this weekend, with Anchovy High looking to claim its first-ever title when the squad faces Manchester High in the ISSA/Digicel Rural Area Schoolgirls junior league final later today. The senior league title will also be decided today with defending champions Denbigh facing former champions Holmwood, whose line up has been strengthened significantly by the return of shooter Deneen Taylor, who was on international duty with the Sunshine Girls at the World Netball Series in Liverpool.
Finally, it seems that international netballers never take a break from the game, even when on holiday! Veteran Australian international Catherine Cox took time out from a vacation in Fiji this week to provide some expert coaching for the University of South Pacific mens' team, which competes in the Suva Mens' and Mixed netball leagues. Cox, who is resting ahead of pre-season training with the West Coast Fever for the 2012 ANZ Championships season, took the players through a series of warm up exercises before introducing some international drills and plays which can be incorporated into their league activities moving forwards.
photos Janos Schmidt