18 November 2013, Harriet Millard
Image caption: A likely match up: Youngsters Ashleigh Iro and Shelby Koh could likely face each other in the mid court.
Netball Cook Islands play host to Singapore this week in a three match international test series at the Telecom Sports Arena, and on paper it looks set to be an exciting clash.
Singapore might be ranked six places lower than the Cooks but their squad is a mix of experience, youth and height.
The maturity and experience of GA Chen Huifen and Lin Quinyi in defence who have 134 caps combined, and both of whom have participated at two World Cups and a Commonwealth Games could steer this team of emerging talent.
The introduction of 6ft 5in Chinese-born Chen Li Li in the GK bib will make for an interesting challenge for Cook Islands shooters.
Youngster Shelby Koh (pictured) who captained the U21 side at the World Youth Cup earlier this year, and 17 year old teammate Nur Aqilah Afiqah Bte Andin Agustino Saman will bring a spirited youth and energy in mid court and defense respectively, whilst 31 year old expat Olivia Flanagan could add another dimension to the team with her varied playing backgrounds encompassing the United Kingdon and United Arab Emirates.
The Singaporeans are under the careful guidance of ex Silver Fern coach Ruth Aitken and she is expecting "a strong hit out" from the hosts on their home soil.
"This is an important series for Singapore to test themselves internationally before competing at home in the Nations Cup next month. This trip gives us a valuable opportunity to train and play together over a concentrated period of time ahead and we are looking forward to challenging ourselves against a top side."
Test dates: 18, 19 and 20 November 2013, 6.30 sharp, Telecom Sports Arena, Nikao, Rarotonga. Entry is by a gold coin donation.
16 November 2013, Harriet Millard
Image credit: Netball America (pictured: Netball America President Sonya Ottoway with FISU board members)
Netball America have won the bid to host the 2016 World University Netball Championship as it was revealed at the FISU (International University Sports Federation) headquarters in Belgium on Saturday 9th November, 2013.
The inaugural university championship took place in 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa, and was won by Great Britain who defeated the hosts 53-49 in the final. The other six competing nations saw three further African nations take advantage of the close proximity of competition: Uganda, Namibia and Zimbabwe.
Republic of Ireland joined Great Britain from the European continent, whilst big guns Australia and New Zealand elected not to participate.
Only Jamaica represented the Caribbean, however with the 2016 event to be staged in Miami, Florida, it is likely that many more Caribbean countries will be in attendance then.
The exact dates have not yet been announced, however stay tuned to Planet Netball who will bring you all the information as it is released.
For those who missed the exciting announcement, watch a replay from FISU headquarters here. (Fast forward to 10 mins 15 seconds for the netball segment.)
16 November 2013
Image credit: Netball Singapore
Singapore's Kallang Netball Centre was transformed into a frenzy of action as teams for the inaugural M1 Corporate Challenge took to the netball courts today.
48 teams participated in the one–day carnival which saw Singapore's busy executives – both male and female – bonding with their colleagues whilst a DJ spun the decks court side, and an exhibition match involving Members of Parliament took centre stage.
Entrants including Barclays Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, DBS, KPMG, Nestle, Philips, Sentosa and many more, and the top honours went to Deloitte & Touche LLP after they defeated IRAS 14-3 in the final.
Deloitte team captain Ailin Zhang said they enjoyed the experience: "We only had one training session so I didn't expect us to gel so well. It was very fun playing with my colleagues; we normally don't have much time to do sport together so this was a great event supported by M1 Limited."
The winning teams walked away with prize money of over $4,000, and all were given bibs, towels, energy bars and premiums from title sponsor, M1 Limited whilst Red Bull and Milo provided energy drinks.
The exhibition match between the MPs and M1 senior management against a mix of local print media starred Lawrence Wong, Acting Minister for Culture, Community and Youth (pictured), Lee Yi Shyan, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Teo Ser Luck, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Seah Kian Peng, Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Marine Parade GRC, and Jessica Tan, MP of East Coast GRC.
Tan, who is also President of Netball Singapore, was thrilled with the day's success: "The level of interest has really been amazing, we have had overwhelming support and I sure you will see a lot more of these events taking place in the future."
In line with the Vision 2030, Netball Singapore hopes to build on the popularity of the event and attract more corporate executives to play the sport despite their busy schedule.
15 November 2013
Team Bath's Superleague netball team have won the coveted Team Of The Year award at the annual Bath Chronicle Sports Awards ceremony, held at Bath Racecourse on Wednesday.
The team, who are preparing for their 2014 campaign beginning in January, received the award after collecting their fifth Superleague title in 2013, a year that also saw them win the FastNet Grand Prix for the first time.
Head coach Jess Thirlby praised the efforts of all players over recent years: "I'm really proud of the team's achievements, not just in 2013 but over the past eight years of the Superleague.
"To have won the title for a fifth time is remarkable and testament to all the players and staff involved. We're very grateful for the continued support of Team Bath and the University of Bath. This award means so much as it is recognition from our local audience and the city of Bath."
Planning a trip to the 2014 Superleague? Click here for a colourful guide to fixtures.
11 November 2013, Harriet Millard
Image credit: Collin Reid
The Fast5 Ferns convincingly defeated the Australian Flyers 56-27 in the 2013 World Series grand final this weekend, but the big shock was last year's silver medalists; the England Fives; bombing out at a sixth place finish.
The crowd favourites; the Malawi Queens; took charge of England in the final quarter of the playoff for 5th place, winning it 12-4 to take the game 34-32.
The partially inexperienced English outfit recorded four losses in the pool round stage, losing heavily to Australia in their opening bout.
However narrow margins separated them from their opponents in the other games; 30-36 against Jamaica, 32-35 against Malawi and 27-31 against New Zealand, and their only win of the weekend came against South Africa.
But the South Africans bounced back to pip the Aussies 40-39, and then beat Malawi to proceed to the semi finals.
England were not so resilient and Captain Serena Guthrie said they hadn't learnt.
"We're pretty disappointed, especially after yesterday we didn't learn from our mistakes. We just didn't bring our A game unfortunately." she added.
An upbeat Guthrie flagged the main positive as court-time for younger players.
"It's been really good for them" she said. "A couple of new players that are breaking into the squad that haven't got as many caps, going up against the Langmans, the Tutaias..."
Guthrie, who commentators described as "the engine room" of the England side was also finding her way in a new experience - that of leadership.
"I've loved it - it's been a challenge for me having to be sensible most of the time! But it's a real honour - I've had fun."
Coach Anna Mayes was disappointed with the amount of wastage of the ball throughout the match but praised Rosie Allison at the attacking end.
"I thought she was absolutely fearless and really took it to them in terms of scoring at critical times, putting those three pointers up, but we left it too late, and were definitely too wasteful with the ball."
Mayes had less players to chose from for this tournament due to injury, but felt the squad did well against the hosts. "The New Zealand game demonstrated what this team are about" she said.
Guthrie had a simple message for England fans back home.
"Please keep supporting - we'll definitely be bringing it for our test series in January."
9 November 2013, Jessica Rose
Image credit: Collin Reid
Hi-visibility playing kits, dance moves, umpires yelling "USE IT!" and goal posts that light up after a shot - 2013's netball party is sprinkled with sparkle.
Once again hosts Netball New Zealand have surpassed expectation, ramping netball's atmospheric bonanza into sixth gear.
As rowdy fans poured into the Vector Arena, Auckland yesterday they themselves did not disappoint - dressed as pirates to witches with wigs, face paints and banners. They were treated to a build up of laughs as comedy videos interviewing giggly netball stars set the scene for the weekend of fun.
Lighting effects such as goal posts that light up bright green when a point is scored during a PowerPlay, and the floor of the subs box suddenly illuminating when a player steps into it, have added more sparkle, whilst the players have also completely embraced the fun elements.
Entering on to court with an array of dance moves and tricks the athletes are clearly enjoying the event as much as the fans.
A new rule also heightens the action to eliminate the delaying tactic. Umpires can intervene, and players can either use it, or lose it (possession that is).
Rounding up day one of on court drama, seven matches were played with only one team remaining unbeaten - the hosts.
The Sunshine Girls opened proceedings with a strong 35-28 win over South Africa (who's kit was an unrecognisable blue and lime) followed by a dynamic, on-form Australian Flyers side who toppled the England Fives 40-19.
New Zealand's FAST5 Ferns demolished Jamaica 43-22, fan favourite, Maria Tutaia was again unfazed as she slotted four from five three-point shots.
The Malawi Queens fell just five goals short of Australia but proved they are serious contenders, and Jamaica took them on for the day's most thrilling encounter.
Both teams extremely aerial and agile, it came down to the final few seconds where ANZ Championship star shooter, Jhaniele Fowler, slotted a two-pointer to secure the win for the Jamaican side.
The Ferns were able to limit Australia to just two goals in the Flyers' selected power play quarter, but dominated in their own, finishing the Aussies 39-26.
The Fast and furious event looks set to entertain again on day two, with an African clash amongst others.
Out and about in Auckland this weekend - why not grab yourself a ticket and enjoy FAST5 at it's best so far.