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Netball - 10. October 2014.

Netball News from around the World By Reporter Rona Hunnisett

Wells and Geitz.jpg

Australia's Diamonds secured the 2014 Constellation Cup with 49-40 win over New Zealand in a pulsating match played in Melbourne this week. But in addition to a much improved Silver Ferns defensive effort, all the talk after the match was about the stunning Kiwi debut for former Australian age group player Ameliaranne Wells, who was introduced at GA for New Zealand at the start of the second quarter. Despite not having played an ANZ Championship match in New Zealand to date, Wells sank her first shot from long range with ease, and despite tiring towards the end of the game, gave her side the motivation and confidence to challenge for every ball. Wells' shooting partner Cathrine Latu was revitalised, netting 25 from 25, but Australia's slick passing and clinical finishing from GS Caitlin Bassett (33/40), named player of the match, kept the Australians in front after a torrid second half. The third match in the series will be played on Saturday in Sydney.

Jamaica's Sunshine Girls will be without sharp-shooter Jhaniele Fowler-Reid for the upcoming Fast5 World Netball Series in Auckland, which will be played on 8 and 9 November. Fowler-Reid withdrew from the squad this week, in order spend time with her family. Meanwhile, Jamaica's preparations for the tournament have been further affected by an outbreak of the chikungunga virus, which has affected several players during the side's preparations.

However, there was a celebration this week for Jamaica's Commonwealth bronze medal winning squad, when the Sunshine Girls were invited to meet the island's Prime Minister, The Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller for an exchange of gifts. The team presented the Prime Minister with a commemorative photo of the bronze medal team, while each of the players received a cheque for US$1,000 in recognition of the team's endeavours to regain third place in the Commonwealth competition.

South Africa's selectors have also had to juggle their line ups this week, after it was announced that Fast5 player Lindie Lombard will not be part of the upcoming SPAR international netball series to be played in Potchefstroom, after sustaining knee injury in the Varsity Netball competition last week. Three players - Elsunet du Plessis, Tumelo Mantiiu and Elouise Annandale - have been added to the squad to allow them to demonstrate their skills before final selections for the competition. Chante Steyn will replace Lenize Potgieter in the SPAR Invitation team that will face the Australian Centre of Excellence, after Potgieter also suffered a suspected knee injury.

Liverpool-born Andrea Gumbs has been appointed technical director of the Cayman Islands Netball Association. Gumbs, who has more than 25 years coaching experience, is looking to establish strong performance pathways, from junior clubs to international teams to encourage increased participation and improve the country's performances in key competitions.

Congratulations to Papua New Guinea's Head Bench Official Trainers Toka Kini-Aua and Naomi Taviri Leka who achieved their National Bench Official accreditation this week from Netball New Zealand. Both recently completed a week-long training programme at the New Zealand National Championships in Auckland, and are now qualified to supervise the delivery of a bench official training programme across Papua New Guinea. This will expose more of the country's officials to higher standards of competition and, it is hoped will create more opportunities for further skills development. Two additional bench officials from the country, Gewa Raula and Kila Rawali attained their Zone accreditation at the recent Pacific Series in the Cook Islands.

Finally, reigning UK Netball Superleague champions Manchester Thunder will welcome national and Superleague teams to their home court for the third annual Mike Greenwood Trophy tournament, which acts as a precursor to the Superleague season. Thunder will face Scotland and Celtic Dragons (Wales), as well as Superleague sides Yorkshire Jets, Team Northumbria and Loughborough Lightning in the competition which will be played in Manchester on 29 November. The competition was named in memory of former Thunder head coach Mike Greenwood, who was instrumental in developing many of England's senior and U21 internationals, who passed away in 2011. More information and ticketing details are available at www.manchesterthunder.com

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