NETBALL WEEKLY NEWS ROUND UP: 28 NOVEMBER 2014
England's Geva Mentor has been voted as the world's number 1 player in the annual rankings published by The Guardian. The GK, who had a stand out season for the Melbourne Vixens as they lifted the ANZ Championship title, topped the poll compiled from rankings submitted by a panel of experts from around the world who rated performances from the ANZ Championships, UK Superleague, Commonwealth Games and international matches in 2014. Last year's leading player, New Zealand's Laura Langman, dropped to third place behind Australian captain Laura Geitz, while Malawi's MwayiKumwenda and England's Jo Harten were close to joining the list for the first time. For more information about the rankings, and the full list of players, please visit: http://bit.ly/1zYTZV1
Fiji is set to play two matches against the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic in February, with games scheduled in Taupo on 19 February and Tokoroa on 21 February. The trip, which will take place a month after Fiji hosts the inaugural Pacific Series against the Silver Ferns and Samoa in January, is part of the Pearls' build up programme to the Netball World Cup in August. The Pacific nation's side is also hoping to play other ANZ Championship teams in the run up to the competition.
Former Trinidad & Tobago national player Bridget Adams has identified the BPTT Mayaro Netball League as an ideal platform from which emerging players can develop their skills. Supported by BP Trinidad & Tobago, the competition entered its 20th season this week, providing competitive opportunities in leagues, knock out and round robin competitions.
Netball Namibia has announced plans to revive the performances of its national team, which include the introduction of the Netball Namibia Senior National Championships in early 2015. The decision comes after the Desert Jewels only achieved seventh place at the African zone World Cup qualifiers held in Botswana in September. Lack of high level competition has been identified as a key contributor to falling international performance standards and it is hoped that the new two day competition will provide a focal point from which the Namibian team can build towards the African Netball Championships, to be held in Lusaka in May next year.
Sydney will play host to the 2015 ANZ Championship official pre-season competition, the Summer Shootout, from 6-8 February 2015. All ten teams from Australia and New Zealand will be in action at the three day tournament hosted by Netball NSW at the newly completed $35 million Netball Central facility, the world's leading purpose-built netball centre, at Sydney Olympic Park. Tickets for the event will go on sale at 10am (AEDT) on 10 December 2014 via www.nswswifts.com.au.
Former New Zealand U21 defender Bessie Manu has signed to play for TeamBath in the 2015 UK Netball Superleague, as part of an innovaticereciptorcal partnership with New Zealand's Kia Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic franchise. Manu, who arrived in Bath this week, will also hold a coaching role at Kingswood School as part of the agreement, as she looks to further her knowledge and skill set looking towards a life after competitive netball. She could take to the court for her new side as early as Saturday, when TeamBath plays in a pre-season tournament against Surrey Storm and Hertfordshire Mavericks.