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Netball - 16. May 2013.

Netball News from around the globe by Rona Hunnisett

Former Australian international captain Vicki Wilson has been named as the Silver Ferns’ new assistant coach by Netball New Zealand.  Wilson, who has signed a two year contract through to the end of the 2015 Netball World Championships in Sydney, is one of netball’s most successful players with three World Championship gold medals and one Commonwealth Games gold medal.  After retiring in 1999, after a 15 year playing career for Australia, Wilson moved into elite coaching, spending two seasons with the Queensland Firebirds from 2006-9.  She has also acted as specialist shooting coach for the Adelaide Thunderbirds and Canterbury Tactix, as well as coaching the Australian U21 squad.  Her first task will be to work alongside coachWaiTaumaunu in selecting the new Silver Ferns squad at trials during August.

The Jamaica Netball Association has appointed Karen Anderson as its new general manager.  Anderson, who represented Jamaica as a junior squash international, will be working to streamline the association’s methods of communication while strengthening its corporate structure.  

Netball New Zealand has also announced a shake up of its competitive structure this week, with the news that the Lois Muir Challenge and the U21 national championships have been replaced by an U23 national age group tournament, which will be held in Wellington from 15-18 July.  The 19-23 age group has been identified as an area with a high drop-off of players, so the new competition is intended to bridge the gap between club, age-group and secondary school levels, and provide a pathway for players and coaches, as well as umpires and other officials, towards the ANZ Championships.  

The “SPAR Baby Proteas”, South Africa’s U21 side, will be continuing their preparations for the upcoming World Youth Championships with a tri-nations series in Pretoria against the Malawi and Botswana U21 sides.  The visiting teams are expected to provide strong competition for the South African squad, although neither will be taking part in the Glasgow tournament – Namibia is the other side from Africa scheduled to take part, and has been drawn in the same group as the South Africans.  Meanwhile, selection for Namibia’s senior squad will start this weekend with trials in the country’s Central zone – 12 players have been named for the selection process.

Suva won gold in the Fiji Games netball competition, after beating Nausori 15-9 in the final at the National Netball Centre at the weekend.  Suva defeated Korovou at the semi-final stage, while Nausori edged out Nasinu.  The winning side, which included a number of Fiji U19 internationals, will leave for New Zealand at the weekend, where the Suva team will compete in the Trans Tasman Secondary Schools competition for the first time.

In Sri Lanka, Hatton National Bank ‘A’ won the inaugural Sri Lankasports.com Inter-Bank Netball Championship 2013 which concluded at the St Joseph’s College Indoor Stadium last weekend. HNB outclassed Nations Trust Bank in the final by 57 goals to 19.Hatton National Bank ‘B’ team took third place, beating Commercial Bank by 13 goals to 11 in the play-off.  Sri Lanka’s leading sports channel, the Carlton Sports Network, televised the entire tournament – the first netball competition to be shown on television nationwide.

Adelaide Thunderbirds remain at the top of the ANZ Championships table, thanks to a hard-fought 49-47 win over the West Coast Fever in the latest round of matches.  The Melbourne Vixens (50-42 winners over the NSW Swifts) and Queensland Firebirds (76-51 winners against the EasiYo Canterbury Tactix) are tied in second place, and face each other in competition this week.  Reigning champions the Waikato BOP Magic moved into fourth, after a gritty 53-49 win over the Central Pulse.  In the final match of the round, the Southern Steel held on in a high scoring game to beat the Northern Mystics 73-63.

Former champions TeamBath topped the table in the UK Netball Superleague after beating Surrey Storm 63-43 in the final match of the regular league season.  They now move into the play offs to face Celtic Dragons, who ended the league in second place after a 64-46 win over Hertfordshire Mavericks.  Mavericks must now play off against the winners of the Challenger league, reigning champions Northern Thunder, for the opportunity to face Surrey Storm in the other play off semi final.  

Spurs Netball Club in Uganda has started a recruitment and coaching drive to bring the game to players aged from 8 years old.  However, its efforts are being thwarted by a lack of basic equipment including balls, bibs and playing kit.  If any clubs or organisations have kit which they are willing to donate, please contact the club’s coach by emailing nellybyuma@yahoo.com.  

Finally many congratulations to Monica Thandi, the founder of the Netball Development Trust, who was given the 2013 Asian Woman of Achievement award for sport at a glittering ceremony at London’s Park Lane Hilton this week.  The award recognises her efforts the mobilise the Trust’s netball coaching programmand reach girls and boys who are located in some of the least developed regions of Uganda and India.  Many congratulations Monica!
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