Australia returned across the Tasman this week, having levelled the Constellation Cup with a thrilling 47-45 win over New Zealand in the second test in Auckland. Caitlin Bassett scored 32 from 36 as the Diamonds overturned the result of the first test in Invercargill. The three remaining test matches in the series take place in Adelaide on 4 October, Melbourne on 7 October and in Canberrra on 13 October.
Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu will not coach the New Zealand side for the Fast5 tournament: instead her place at the helm of the squad will be taken by Southern Steel coach Janine Southby. Meanwhile, Shannon Francois has been added to the Ferns line up for the Australian leg of the Constellation Cup as the New Zealand squad searches for the perfect midcourt combination to overcome the Australians.
The Netball Association of Malawi has named its 20 player long squad for the autumn international season, with six players from the Diamonds club named alongside the country’s first overseas-based player Mwayi Kumwenda, who has been included in the Canterbury Tactix squad for the 2014 season. Coach Griffin Saenda will be assisted by former international Mary Waya as the side travels to the Southern Hemisphere for international matches against New Zealand and Australia, before competing in the Fast5 World Series in Auckland in November. The full Malawi long squad is: Jessica Chikooka, Jane Chimaliro, Martha Dambo, Melania Gideon, Joan Kachilika, Alinafe Kamwala, Tina Kamzati, Bridget Kumwenda, Mwayi Kumwenda, Hendrina Longwe, Takondwa Lwazi, Jessie Mazengera, Enelisi Mdezo, Caroline Mtukule, Cecilia Mtukule, Fanny Mwale, Joyce Myula, Linda Myula, Maggie Sikwese, Towera Vinkhumbo.
Across the continent, Black Africa took the 2013 Central Zone Netball League title this week, with five wins from six matches. Pre-season favourites Civics were pushed into second place by a single point, while Unam Main Campus took third place in this, the first year of the competition, which is intended to improve playing standards nationwide.
Jamaica netball lost one of its emerging stars this week, with the death of national U16 player Shakiera Muschett in a bus crash on the island. Muschett, 15, was in the U16 side which played warm up games against England U21 earlier this year, and had taken part in the island’s ISSA Rural Area High School league for the past three years. Our condolences go to her family, and the Jamaica netball community.