A familiar face made a surprise return to competitive netball this week: former Silver Ferns captain Adine Wilson, who last appeared in the ANZ Championships in 2009, responded to a call up by the injury-hit Southern Steel to join their squad as cover in midcourt. Wilson, who played her last test for New Zealand in 2007, took to the court for the final quarter, but could not change the result of the game, which ended in a 60-49 win for the Northern Mystics. Wilson may yet stay with the squad for another round of games, depending on how injured midcourter Shannon Francois recovers from an ankle injury.
This victory takes the Mystics to the top of the ANZ Championships table with only three rounds of the regular competition remaining, and the Kiwi side is one of six in contention for the four play off spots. This week they take on the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic, perennial competition finallists, who moved into fifth place in the table thanks to a 52-42 win over the Central Pulse. Second placed Melbourne Vixens, coming off a bye weekend, will host the West Coast Fever, looking to redeem their season after a last quarter slip up allowed the NSW Swifts to edge past them for a 51-49 win that took the Sydney side into fourth place. The Swifts now face the Adelaide Thunderbirds, one place above them in the ladder thanks to a 54-49 win over reigning premiers Queensland Firebirds, in a must-win game for both teams.
South Africa's Proteas opened their Jamaican tour with a 46-36 victory over the Jamaican U21 team with coach Elize Kotze trying several new combinations ahead of the upcoming three match test series against the senior Sunshine Girls, which starts this evening. Meanwhile, members of the Jamaican squad have been working hard to promote the series to new spectators across the country, presenting tickets to schools selected by sponsors Eastwood Ltd.
In the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T)'s selectors have named the country's squad to compete in the Americas Federation of Netball Associations (AFNA) Championships, which is to be held at the Jean Pierre Complex in Mucarapo from 14-21 July. T&T's “Calypso Girls”, who are the reigning champions and will be playing on home soil, will face Barbados, Bermuda, Canada, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Lucia and the USA during the tournament. The full T&T squad for the competition is: Janelle Barker, Joelisa Cooper, Crystal Ann Georgem, Candice Guerrero, Onella Jack, Rhonda John-Davis, Alicia Liverpool, Tricia Liverpool, Anika La Roche, Kemfa Philip, Jellene Richardson, Anastascia Wilson.
Meanwhile, Bermuda's selectors have named
teenager Asante Chapman in their squad for the AFNA Championships. The promising mid-courter moved to the UK last year to pursue her netball education, and has been named in the senior squad for the first time alongside another former Bermudan U16 Kajuna Lema. The full Bermudan squad is: Karen (Jones) Simmons (capt), Marissa Wainwright (v-capt), Ebonie Burgess, Asante Chapman, Kimale Evans, Arkeita Fubler, Jamila Godwin, Jadirra Harvey, Kajuna Lema, Danielle Raynor, Chaquita Simmons, Karlandra Smith, Jamila Godwin, Danielle Raynor.
Fiji's netballers have announced their determination to retain the LICI Pacific Netball Series title, as a wedding present for national captain Mere Rabuka, who marries former Fijian international rugby star Jone Qovu tomorrow (16 June). Tickets for the competition, to be played in Fiji from 27-30 June, went on sale this week and a sell-out crowd is expected each day to watch the home team do battle with the Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea and Samoa.
Finally, congratulations to the 23 members of Durham University's netball team who smashed the world record for the longest netball match, playing for 72 hours without interruption. Ending with a final score of 3,560-3,414, the 23 players, drawn from three university teams, beat the previous record by eleven hours in the hope of holding the title for as long as possible.