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Netball News from around the globe by Rona Hunnisett
Despite not playing internationally outside Africa since 1979, and missing their first match of the tournament, Uganda’s She Cranes took the title at the Nations Cup in Singapore, with a 52-29 win over the home nation in the final. The win will ensure Uganda its first international ranking ever. Inspired by another clinical shooting performance from towering shooter Proscovia Peace, Uganda led from the end of the first quarter, and despite the efforts of the dogged Singapore team, the African side’s flair and speed through court ensured that they took their first international title.
Papua New Guinea, who missed out on a place in the competition’s final on goal difference to Uganda, took consolation in a third place play off win over Sri Lanka. The match was a closely fought affair, with Sri Lanka taking full advantage of the height of shooter Tharjini Sivalingam to stay in contention until the end of the third quarter, when they trailed by a single goal. At this point, the Pacific islanders redoubled their defensive efforts and forged ahead for a 60-48 win.
The Republic of Ireland defeated the USA 61-26 to take fifth place, but American coach Kevin Nickie was positive about the improvements he had seen in his squad over the week-long tournament. “We have learned how to play against teams from the Pacific side of the world, a very different style of netball. We have a lot to work on when we get home particularly our zone defence. We can capitalise on this and take it forward.”
Former Australian coach Jill McIntosh is set to return to Jamaica in the New Year, to continue her work with the country’s technical development and coaching programmes ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2014. McIntosh is set to work closely with Sunshine Girls head coach Oberon Pitterson-Nattie and assistant Minneth Reynolds and accompany them to the Commonwealth Games, as part of a five month agreement from April 2014.
Former titleholders Northern Thunder have revealed their squad for UK’s 2014 Zeo Netball Superleague. Australian and New South Wales U21 representative Alix McDermott joins the side for the first time, while Jodie Gibson transfers from Loughborough Lightning and Wales international Sara Hale shifts allegiance from Celtic Dragons. The full squad is Kerry Almond, Sara Bayman, Eleanor Cardwell, Beth Cobden, Emma Dovey, Krista Enziano, Jodie Gibson, Sara Hale, Rachel Henry, Helen Housby, Alex McDermott, Laura Malcolm, Alice Travis, Kathryn Turner, Georgie Webster. Hertfordshire Mavericks have also recruited strongly during the closed season, adding England internationals Sophia Candappa and Kadeen Corbin to a line up which will also include former NSW Swifts player Sam May and West Coast Fever shooter Sarah East. Meanwhile, Surrey Storm will welcome back a familiar face for the new season, with former international Tamsin Greenway returning to the role of player/coach after giving birth to her first child earlier this year.
The Pakistan Netball Association has announced the dates for the country’s First National Beach Games competition, which will include netball tournaments for both mens’ and womens’ teams. The competition will take place in Karachi from 28-30 April 2014 and will feature sides from 15 provinces and organisations.
In Fiji, Police successfully defended its Open and Veteran’s titles in the BSP Life Sukuna Bowl competition, played at the National Netball Centre. Inspired by international Alesi Waga, the Police Open squad was impressive throughout the competition, while Army won the “Wives Open” category of the competition.
30 players from the six provincial teams which participated in the Solomon Islands Our Telekom National Championships played in Bellona have benefitted from a four day umpiring course held at the conclusion of the competition. The course, which included both theory and practical sessions, is intended to improve awareness of the rules across the country, encourage more players to take up umpiring and ultimately increase the number of opportunities for participation across the country.
Nearly 40% of parents of girls report their daughters being inspired to take up a sport after watching professionals in action.