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Netball News from around the Globe by Rona Hunnisett
Three of New Zealand's finest netball names have been named on the Queen's Birthday Honours list for services to netball and the community. Dame June Mariu, a former Silver Ferns captain, is currently the national co-ordinator of Aotearoa Netball and has been made a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Currently head coach of the Haier Pulse in the ANZ Championships, Robyn Broughton has been awarded an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her work in influencing the development of netball in communities across the country – among her many roles, she previously acted as assistant coach for the Silver Ferns and coached the Southern Sting from 1998-2007, taking them to seven National Bank Cup titles, before taking over the reins of the Southern Steel for four years. Finally, former Silver Ferns vice captain and current Northern Mystics captain, Temepara George has been awarded membership of the New Zealand Order of Merit for serviecs to netball and the community. Having announced her retirement from netball at the end of the season, George is set to join the Sky Sports team in New Zealand. Many congratulations to all three of them.
Defending champions Jamalco held off a late comeback from Tivoli A to win Jamaica's Berger Paints/JNA Superleague competition for the ninth consecutive year, with a 44-43 win in the second game of the finals series. The reigning champions took the first match 42-32. Veteran shooter Elaine Davis was the key to Jamalco's success in game two, scoring 37 goals from 43 attempts, as her team withstood immense pressure from Tivoli to take the $J200,000 (approx $2,300US) first prize.
All eyes in Jamaica now turn to the international stage, with South Africa set to arrive on the island this weekend for their three match test series against the Sunshine Girls. The Proteas, who are set to arrive on Sunday, will play a warm up match against Jamaica's U21 side, before facing the home nation in three test matches, starting next Friday (15 June).
Melbourne Vixens moved back to the top of the ANZ Championship ladder this week, level on points with the Northern Mystics, after the Australian side defeated former league leaders the Adelaide Thunderbirds 48-40 in the latest round of matches. The loss moves the Thunderbirds down to third place in the table, level with reigning champions Queensland Firebirds, who surged back into play off contention with a 50-45 win over the NSW Swifts. In the round's other matches, the Waikato/BOP Magic defeated the Southern Steel 66-47, while the Haier Central Pulse scored their fifth win of the season with a 54-47 win against the Canterbury Tactix. With four rounds of the league season remaining, seven teams remain in contention for the play off spots, making this the most competitive ANZ Championship season to date.
In Singapore, the Energiser National League is now under way, with 57 teams taking part in nine competitive divisions. Sneakers Ace will be looking to retain the title they scooped in 2011, but will expect a stern contest from last year's runners up, Nike Fit, who pushed them all the way through the competition. Finals for the league, as well as the mixed and schools leagues which run alongside the main contest, are scheduled to take place on 14 July. Meanwhile, entries are now open for the country's largest netball competition, the Pesta Sukan Netball Carnival which will take place at the end of July and features teams from primary school age through to open classification. More information is available from Netball Singapore at www.netball.org.sg.
Courts Pacesetters were the week's big winners in Antigua's newly reinstated Cool & Smooth National Netball League, overcoming Defante 26-8. Meanwhile, PMS Trendsetters beat Potters 12-4 and Anterjets beat Nature Isles 10-6 in the week's other matches. Meanwhile, in Botswana, Jungle Queens maintained their 100% unbeaten record in the Spar Be Good to Yourself Superleague by defeating Prisons 30-27, thanks to an inspired last quarter fightback. Defending champions BDF Cats overwhelmed Flying Doves 46-8 in the week's other fixture.