Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kiunga take out National Championship "A" Grade Title

From all the reports returning with those that attended the National Championships in Lorengau, it seems we who didn’t go, are the ones that missed out on a good time, Well done Manus.

Despite all the hooha about getting there, 7 senior teams and 6 junior teams turned out at the Championships making it a manageable affair for organizers and good competitive netball.

Boe Lahui, Tournament Director for the event will provide more details on how the competition unfolded, later in the week, but from accounts received so far, the tournament was hassle free, played in the spirit of the game and competitive, in fact word has it that Kiunga would have even given the more established centres a good run for their money. Now that gets the sensations tingling, hey.

Young “Daphne Hungrabos” may be a name we will be hearing about more often in the future, if her development continues in the manner it is now.

At 18/19 this lass of Central and New Ireland parentage is an impact player that has huge prospects. Shooting for Kiunga in both U21 and senior competitions, her reach and agro and athleticism near the hoop made her a standout and was easily the “Shooter of the Tournament” this year.

Manus turned on the island charm and a welcome from Governor Michael Sapau appropriately instilled the merits of sport, competition and healthy living to all, commending the tournament organizers, sponsors and participants on choosing Manus for this year’s tournament.

From what we hear, the after-tournament bash wasn't too bad either with the garamut and Manusian Waltz resonating throughout Lorengau much to the crowds delight. Even the executives attending the AGM had to loosen the cobwebs and shake the booty a little.

Sponsors Goodman Fielder International under their brand “Flame Wholemeal Flour” were happy with the tournament and were impressed at how the absence of the bigger Associations was turned into a positive for development of the sport.

Well done again to the Manus Association and GFI from the entire netball fraternity.

Results from the tournament are;

A Grade – Kiunga 28 b Moresby NW 20
B Grade – Moresby NW 32 b Alotau 18
Masters – Manus 1 b Manus 2
U21 – Moresby NW 25 b Kiunga 18
U17 – Alotau 20 b Moresby NW 18
U15 – Alotau 22 b Kiunga 15
U13 – Manus 1 b Manus 2

Games were played at the Lorengau open courts and accommodation was informally billeted throughout the township.

Details of other games and awards will be provided as soon as they are to hand.

Madang will host the next Championships next September.

See you all again in 2010.

Monday, September 28, 2009

PCNC Annual General Meeting Called

In the wake of disappointing news that this season will be delayed to accommodate much needed renovations to the Bisini facilities, Mrs Hitolo Moka, President of the PCNC has issued notice for a meeting of the club's members on Sunday 18th October at the netball courts.

The following is the agenda as provided by Mrs Moka.

All existing teams as well as interested teams are asked to attend and spread the word to those that do not have access to a computer.

DATE: Sunday 18th October 2009
VENUE: Rita Flynn Courts, Bisini Parade, Boroko, NCD
TIME: 1:00 pm
1. Apologies
2. Motion to endorse Chairperson of the Meeting
3. Minutes from previous AGM as at 19th October 2008
a. Corrections
b. Any matters arising from the previous AGM
4. Receiving of Executive Members Reports
a. President’s Report
b. Treasurer’s Report
5. Motion to endorse Executive Management Reports
6. Any Other Business;
a. Confirmation of 2009/10 Calendar due to PNG National Games

b. 09/10 Registration Fees and Team listing
c. Division Allocation for 2009/10 Season.

Provided by Mrs H Moka
For enquiries call telephone 301 3669

PNG wins the bid to host 2015 Pacific Games

It's official folks, PNG and Port Moresby has won the bid to host the Pacific Games in 2015.

This is particularly important to Netball because as a major team event in the games, it means that much of the support facilities required for the sport will now be built by the government over the next several years.

It also means the focus the game needed for so long can be channeled to areas such as junior development, coaching and umpiring resources to give us the best possible chance for a crack at the gold medal.

Well done to Governor Powes Parkop, Dame Carol Kidu and the PNG bid team,

Mini Games Grand Final Update - Post Match with Mike Petrides

Post match - yep it was a result that could have gone the Pepes way, as the Pepes had their chances particularly in the 2nd quarter to take control of the game.

The Q1 score was 15 each and approx halfway through the 2nd Qtr the Pepes were leading by 3 and pressing for 4, but poor pass selection and dropped balls cost the side dearly and they went into the main break down 2 goals 27 -29.

The 3rd qtr did not start well for the Pepes and they found themselves down by 11 at one point, but clawed their way back to be down by 8 at the end of the 3rd qtr. The injection of 19 year old GK Nisha Omi paid off and the Pepes mounted a late challenge to the Fijians reducing their lead to 3 goals with under 3 mins to go, and pressing for another goal but the miss was rebounded by the Fijians who converted to take the lead back to 4 and regain possession with a wayward centre pass.

The Pepes battled to the end but to no avail with Fiji converting the last shot of the match after the siren and winning by a margin of 7.

As I said the Pepes again had their chances, but handling mistakes at crucial times cost them dearly. Crowd support for both sides was fantastic and matched the electricity on court.

PS - Fiji agreed to a request from PNG to have the match sanctioned by IFNA for world ranking purposes, with IFNA endorsing the requested with IFNA appointing NZ umpires in line with their umpiring standards.

I'll send you through a team photo to include.

Posted by Mike P to Near the Hoop - Papua New Guinea Netball News at 28 September, 2009 09:48

Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 National Championships wind up in Manus

Teams returned to their respective provinces today and tomorrow as the 2009 National Championships wound up. This years tournament in Lorengau, was unfortunately not as well attended as communications and transportation (logistical)issues caused havoc for many teams intending to make the long trip to beautiful Manus.

Even as late as the end of August, it was unclear from our inquiries with the PNG Netball Federation, whether or not the Championships would go ahead in Manus.

From reports reaching Near the Hoop this evening, the competition was still lively and of a high standard and that there were some interesting results.

Once confirmed, they will be posted here.

Well done to all the teams that did attend and if there are any reports or any comments to be made of the event, please post a comment here for all to see. If you are able to supply images from the Championships, it would really be appreciated.

"Near the Hoop"

PNG lose to Fiji in Gold Medal Thriller

After beating Tokelau comfortably in their major semi match on Friday, PNG faced the might of the Fijian offense after they beat the Cook Islands in a very tight contest 52 to 50 for the right to play for Gold, also on Friday afternoon.

Yesterday the Pepe's and the Fijians met in a game that the pundits were split on. From all accounts, it could have gone either way and it was the Fijians that in the end had to dig deep to keep the Pepe's from causing an upset.

The final score according to the Cook Islands News website was 58 - 51 to Fiji.

Mike Petrides and Pole Kassman will have their say in the post match reviews when they return to PNG, but our Pepe's are still in very good standing and no doubt will continue to be watched by the likes of the Cooks, Fiji and Samoa.

Gold still eludes the Pepe's but the respect they command from their better provisioned Pacific Island sisters makes them very, very competitive.

The Mini Games team returns over the next few days and we congratulate the Pepe's for bringing home Silver. Overall PNG did not fair very well at these Games managing to come 11th out of 14 countries.

I am developing an image library for Near the Hoop on Google's Picasa and will advise once constructed.

Again congratulations to the Pepe's

Saturday, September 26, 2009

PNG vTokelau and Fiji v Cooks in Semi Finals

In breaking news from the Cooks, PNG has blasted its way through to the semi finals beating hosts the Cook Islands 67 - 63 in what Mike Petrides describes as an excellent show of courage and spirit.

If they beat Tokelau this afternoon, they will meet the winner of the Fiji/Cook Islands game also scheduled for this afternoon.

Go the Pepe's and well done to all, especially withe Governor Parkop and Dame Carol at hand. Hopefully they will see that netball has excellent representational prospects and they start to back the team.

Cook Islands are ranked highly in the world as are Fiji and would have given us a real boost if these games were counted by IFNA. Unfortunately they are not but it gives our girls a good run for their other international commitments later this year.

If your logging onto the site. Some supportinve comments would be appreciated. If you wish to post your comments, feel free.

Mini Games Update - Sat 26th September 2009 - Mike Petrides in Cook Islands

Happy to report that the Pepes are through to the semi final today against Tokelau (game starts 1:30pm PNG time) with the winner to progress through to the Gold Medal match on Sat at 3pm (PNG Sun at 11am). Yesterday, the Pepes beat host Cook Is 67 - 63 in a tight, physical match of fast netball. After being down 13-16 at the 1st quarter, the Pepes started the 2nd qtr very slow and at one point found themselves down by 9, but clawed their way back into the match getting as close as 2 down, before finishing at the half time break down 6 goals 33 - 27. The injection of U21 Nisha Omi at GK paid handsome dividends as she took on the very tall GS Angela Maoate and put her body on the line in some very physical clashes. Spurred on by a parochial Team PNG support group (including NCD Governor Powes Parkop, MP Dame Carol Kidu and a number of the 2015 Pacific Games bid team) the Pepes fought back to be level at 47 each at the 3rd qtr break. Early in the 4th qtr the Pepes opened up a 4 goal break and both teams then went goal for goal with the Pepes holding off the host's attempts to get back the lead. A fantastic effort by all team members, but special mention of Winnie Mavara at WD who played another blinder, GA Lua Rikis converting 32 from 36, Tiata Baldwin at GS, Nisha Omi at GK and Raka Nope at GD. The other semi today sees Fiji go up against the host Cook Is for the right to play in the Gold Medal match.


Posted by Mike Petrides to Near the Hoop - Papua New Guinea Netball News at 26 September, 2009 10:13

Mini Games Update - 25th September - Go the Pepe's

Postscript - the Pepes easily accounted for Nuie 67 -27 in yesterday's match. After a slow start by the Pepes they led at the 1st Qtr 14-5 then extended then lead to 20 at half time with a team shooting average of 89% in the 2nd Qtr. Starting lineup was GS Tiata Baldwin, GA Lua Rikis, WA Richanda Kassman, C Mona-Lisa Leka, WD Winnie Mavara, GD Raka Nope, GK Ravu Raula. A number of changes were made for the 3rd Qtr with Dianne Kala coming on at Centre, Mona-Lisa Leka moving to WA, Raka Nope moving to GK and Nisha Omi coming on at GD. Further changes were made for the 4th Qtr with Richanda Kassman coming back into the match at WA, and Gewa Raula coming on at GS. The Pepes play the Cook Is later today to decide who finishes 1st in Pool A.

Posted by Mike Petrides to Near the Hoop - Papua New Guinea Netball News at 25 September, 2009 10:23

Mini Games Updates - Mike Petrides

Hi Simon, Pepes go up against Nuie in approx 3hrs at 4:30pm (Cook Is) which is 12:30pm in PNG. Pepes training sessions have gone well so far and the team is focussed on getting away to a good start, particularly as tomorrow's game is against the hosts Cook Is. Our training sessions last week in Qld went very well and our game against the QLD Men's side was a close one with the Pepes being edged out 54-53, but everyone in the team had a run. I'll keep you updated on our progress. Cheers - Mike

Posted by Mike Petrides to Near the Hoop - Papua New Guinea Netball News at 24 September, 2009 09:35

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sorry for the Delay

Sorry all, have had a few problems with my browser.

Guess your all busy but so has the netball. A lot of work happening at the courts with a new fence quicckly taking form.

No word yet about whether or not the PCNC and PSNA comps will proceed. I'll try to find out whats happening with the National CChampiohsips in Manus and how the Pepe's are doing in Rara Tonga.

The schools netball had their finals today at the Ela Murray school, I'll be loading some pics and I guess we'll have to find out what's happening to the corporate netball played during the week.

In international netball the special games in the UK must have ended with an abreviated, pwoer game similar to the 7's and 20/20 all packed into one and we still seem to have a chance at making the Comonwealth Games after Fiji was ejected from the Commonealth recently.

I'll keep you posted when I get the news.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pepe's Blood New Caps

The PNG national netball team announced on Thursday last week included three new names among a list of capable and experienced campaigners. The three, Marie Otio - Shooter, Rhoda Kerea - Mid Court and Defender Nisha Omi, were plucked from the National U21 team that participated at the World Youth Netball Cup in the Cook Islands recently.

The PNG Netball Federation had been looking seriously at the trialing of new talent for the national squad to at least give the national selectors some depth in the availability of players at international level.

Julianne Leka-Maliaki, Secretary of the PNG Netball Federation has been at pains to try and elevate the standard of netball in the country especially in other centres to encourage the participation of talent outside Port Moresby. This has been a particular concern for netball in PNG as the pool of players when looking into the future is fairly sparse.

Rhoda Kerea will the the newest of the bunch as both Marie Otio and Nisha have trained or travelled with the Pepe's. Rhonda was noticed by talent scouts at recent Central Province tournaments and over several years her consistency and talent development has impressed selectors.

The last time a youth development program for netball was effectively functional was some 13 years ago and the prodigy from that program was Mona-Lisa Leka, the current Pepe's captain. Netball in PNG has unfortunately slid in that area for a range of reasons, but certainly not from a lack of trying.

Rhoda, Marie and Nisha now join the training squad which is undergoing some intense drills regime under the stewardship of Mike Petrides and Pole Kassman to prepare them for the Mini Games later this month, the Nations Cup and so on.

Joining the squad in Brisbane will be young Tiata Baldwin who, standing at 193cm, will give some height to the team.

As you would expect, these young players will be taken under-wing by their contemporaries in the team and depending on their individual resolve, they should blossom to make a name for themselves on the international stage and make Papua New Guinea proud.

Well done to the three and good luck.

The two images are of 1)Rhoda Kerea (ing grey tunic) in an U21 training match against Veupunama and 2) Marie Otio defending for Paramana (black and white tunic) in a recent POMNA premier division match.

PNGNF names Pepe's Squad to Mini SP Games

Sunday 6th September 2009

This week the PNG Netball Federation announced names of the full "Pacific MMI Pepe's" team that will attend the Mini SP Games in the Cook Islands. The same announcement was also made during yesterdays premier division grand final in Port Moresby.

The Pacific MMI Pepe's


Lua Rikis -City Pharmacy Rebels -POMNA
Tiata Baldwin -Cougars - ANL - Australian Netball League
Marie Otio -Lagatoi / Paramana - Lagatoi NA *
Gewa Raula - Paramana - POMNA

Mid Court

Mona-Lisa Leka (c) - Esco Telstars - POMNA
Diane Kala - Sparrows - POMNA
Richanda Kassman - Snax Mermaids - POMNA
Rhoda Kerea - Central / Sparrows - Central Province NA *


Raka Nope - Esco Telstars - POMNA
Ravu Raula - Paramana - POMNA
Winnie Mavara - City Pharmacy Rebels - POMNA
Nisha Omi - Madang - Madang NA *


Pole Kassman - Coach - POMNA
Michael Petrides - Manager - POMNA

The side will travel to Brisbane Australia on 16th September while the rest of us are celebrating independence, for both a conditioning session and games against several division 3 teams from the Brisbane League. They then travel to the Cook Islands on the 19th where they will take part in the Games. The Games start on 21st September 2009.

Unfortunately these international games will not be considered as part of the IFNA international ranking protocols but will certainly condition the Pepe's for other international obligations including December's Nations Cup meet in Singapore where they are defending champions.

When asked about their chances, a defiant pole Kassman, Coach of the Pepe's, was quick to say "We are a better than even money chance" and we're looking forward to these Games.

* - Also members of the National U21 "Cocoons"

POMNA 2009 Netball Grand Final Results - Saturday, 2nd September 2009

Port Moresby: Sunday 6th September 2009.

Port Moresby Netball Association (POMNA) held its season grand finals in front of a modest but parochial crowd at the Rita Flynn Netball courts yesterday, Saturday 4th September 2009.

Results at hand are;
Premier Division Esco Telstars 34 def Monier Paramana 30
Division 1 Kapunarau def Veupunama *
Division 2 Treasury 34 def Poinimo 33
Division 3 N Layers Birdwings 21 def Kapunarau 20

U21 Esco Telstars def Snax Mermaids *
U17 Snax Mermaids 16 def City Pharmacy Rebels 13
U15 Escco Telstars 19 def Snax Mermaids 17
U13A City Pharmacy Rebels 19 def Esco Telstars 13
U13B Esco Telstars 14 def Snax Kaugere 13
U10 Esco Telstars 25 def City Pharmacy Rebels 19

On perhaps the hottest day on record for this time of the year, the POMNA Grand Final went off without a hitch. Sponsors were well represented with tents set up around the main courts and a constant crowd kept the games well attended even as early as 10:00 in the morning when the first games blew time on.

Emily Taule and Pole Kassman, Presidents of the PNG Netball Federation and Port Moresby Netball Associations respectively, were happy at the outcome both in terms of the quality of netball played, the sportsmanship exhibited by all teams and in the conduct of the crowd. Organisers of the event were happy with the smooth flow of events and the behaviour and cooperation of all in attendance.

This year saw several new teams entering the competition and congratulations should be extended to the likes of Kapunarau who in their first year, had two of its teams make the grand finals. Oro Birdwings also made the grand finals in their first year in the competition and Treasury surprised everyone including themselves at making and winning the Division 2 grand finals in their first year out.

A big thanks for all sponsors large and small for an excellent season of netball.

Well done to all teams that participated this year and congratulations to both winning grand- finalists and losing teams, umpires and officials for making this years grand finals a successful event.

* scores not available at time of post

A Flying Start - Junior Netball, the Vital Link

Developing and encouraging the juniors to aspire for the highest possible achievement's in any sport assures a future for that sport. Netball in Papua New Guinea is no exception.

Today's Junior Grand Finals was a refreshing look at the culmination of another year of dedication by those who nurture the young throughout the 2009 season, a glimpse at the good grounding they have been given in the rules of the game and a degree of glamour as you see the small tell tale attributes that young players adopt as they emulate the achievements of those in more senior teams.

Watching the U10's pit their most rudimentary of skills against each other on a court that the senior girls have difficulty shooting on, with bibs that are as big as they are and playing in the most unbearable of temperatures, would bring a smile anyone's face when you notice them adopting an almost ritual passion for the uniform they wear and club they represent. It makes you appreciate that the sport plays a meaningful and effective role in any childs healthy upbringing.

I was most impressed and drawn to the U10's Final between City Pharmacy Rebels and Esco Telstars more because they reminded me of my own children but also appreciating the PNG Netball Federation's never ending task to develop the sport throughout the country.

Just as intriguing I guess was the U13's and eventually the U15, U17 and U21 finals. The obvious progression of skill levels and a passion that emanates from team spirit. Unfortunately corporate PNG seems fixated with Rugby League to the exclusion of other sports leaving sports like netball to fend for themselves with very little resources. The junior Finals were an excellent reminder of where it all began for many associated with the game. To see the banners and tents, the streamers, the attendance of umpires and a host of senior members of the game dotting over their young charges is assuring, to say the least.

Of course, the larger your club, the better your chances of it making it to the finals and particularly for the junior divisions, the Esco Telstars signature is clearly present across the sport. In all but the U17 age division the mighty Telstars had a team in the Finals and with impressive results.

The U10's Final was won by Telstars 25-19 in a game that had everything from crowd participation to people running up and down the court barracking for their team. A real fun time. The U13A Final belonged to City Pharmacy Rebels, beating Esco Telstars 22-13. U13B's went to the Telstars against spirited Kaugere side who came dressed for the occasion in green and white body paint all over themselves and making a real fist of the game that was won only by the sounding of the full time whistle.

U15's, played between Rivals Snax Mermaids and Esco Telstars only just went to the red army 19-17 and the U17 the Mermaids and Rebels was a close contest between two very evenly matched teams. In the end, the mermaids held on to take the game 16-13.

The U21's again evenly contested went the Esco Telstars way, but not without a gutsy effort from both sides.

Despite the scorching conditions today, the courts continued to buzz right into the midday competition with the revelry of the the junior competition, something the seniors would do well to be reminded of.

They had a great day, we had a great day and netball had a great day.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Treasury Impress in first Grand Final

A better script could not have been written for the "rise to fame" for division 2's new kid on the block, Treasury and to win by one point in extra time after hanging onto a 29 each full time score made the story all the more special.

Treasury, made up of the ladies of the Finance, Treasury and National Planning Departments only took the sport up as a means to socialise and bond after the PSNA competition ended earlier this year. To play in the division seemed a crazy notion but today the ladies would have been forgiven if they woke up pinching themselves to see if this was not a figment of their imagination.

To win it in such an enduring way was just mind blowing and I wouldn't be surprised if the bar for the well deserved celebrations tonight was raised just a little.

Their commitment was demonstrated early in the day as they arrived in force to take part in a march-past, one of only two senior division teams to participate in this early morning ritual to the beat of a hastily put together police marching drums. That commitment remained focused when the team took the court and immediately looked to be the underdogs with the Poinimo team well accustomed to this level of competition. But as the game wore on the public service ladies seemed to be the more polished of performers scooting to an early lead and keeping the more fancied Marshal lagoon ladies within their reach. An early lead was cut back by Poinimo and from each quarter there after the two teams seemed to trade the leader card.

At 22 all minutes with only 5 minutes to go it seemed Poinimo might take the game but composure from Treasury saw the lead trade with each net. Full time scores were 29 each and extra time was called without a break in blazing conditions you could fry an egg on.

To their credit it was Treasury who ran away again with a lead that the Poinimo ladies just could not chase down, taking it to the wire again. Treasury ecstatic about their one point win in their first foray into this netball competition. Final scores: Treasury 34 beating Poinimo 33.

Telstars Defend POMNA Premier Division Premiership

Esco Telstars (in red) defended their premier division title this afternoon in a grinding, hard fought encounter with Paramana at the Rita Flynn Courts in Port Moresby.

On a day that saw the mercury spilling out of the dial even as early as 8:00 in the morning the teams just had to contend with conditions that would have been like playing on the surface of the sun. The 15 minute quarters must have seemed an eternity but still both teams turned it on for supporters and fans, providing a game in which neither team let up until the final whistle.

As expected it came down to possession and accuracy near the hoop and for Paramana it was to be a disappointing afternoon with a fairly expensive average deficiency from their shooters in the first and last quarters. It was to be this poor completion rate at critical moments of the game that worked against the ladies in black. At half time it seemed Telstars had Paramana's measure but to their credit, Paramana made a strong resurgence in the third quarter bringing them to within a margin of 5 nets and a sniff of the trophy.

Umpires Emily Taule and Margaret Hill made it clear from the outset that they were not going to accept any nonsense and with several Pepe's, former Pepe's and National U21 squad players in the two teams, rightly so. Emily Maha was advanced several times for dissent and that quickly set the tone for the game and then it was on for young and old.

There was no love lost from either side and the four quarters were evenly poised, even toward the the end of the final quarter.

The final score: Esco Telstars 34 Paramana 30 with an impressive scoring overage for Toka Aua, who really rose to the occasion today playing well above her best. Defender Ravu Raule and Marie Otio in attack shone for Paramana.

In other division grand finals played today there were some real surprises in a day of excellent netball.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Paramana book 2009 grandfinal berth

Monier Paramana (in black tunics) did enough in their torrid encounter with City Pharmacy Rebels last Saturday to book a showdown with Esco Telstars this weekend.

Played in the heat of an overcast but still glaring midday sun, the game started off at quite a pace with the Reble's quick to make the first net of the game count, impressing delegates of the Pacific Games Committee inspecting facilities for PNG's bid to host the games in 2015.

Shooter Lua Mavara was again on the boil, playing a very solid game for the Rebels up front and leaving an endelible mark on that position in teh national team with her agro and excellent positional play, but just as impressive was the Paramana attack who in the end give as much as they got.

In the end it was several crucial turnovers that let the game slip for the ladies in blue.

This weekend will be a feast off fast and furious netball for the fans as Monier Paramana and Esco Telstars go head to head at the Rita Flynn Courts at Bisini. It will be grand finals for all teams with the U10's starting off proceedings at about midday.

Veupunama too booked a berth on Saturdays itinerary with a close win against favourites Telstars in Division 1 so there will be a lot of interesting prospects as the day progresses.

I'll see you all there on Saturday......

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Equality for Women in Sports

In Papua New Guinea, the media, be it by design or accidentally, simply gives little or no attention to women in sports.

Netball, which has to the most prolific sport played by women in PNG just does not rate a mention against what happens in sports that men are involved in. Netball together with other sports played by women receives very little funding compared to Rugby League and Rugby Union despite it being played by all genres of women in society, in schools, casually and in both on and off season competitions.

Internationally, the senior national team is ranked just outside the top ten nations playing netball from a rft of over 70 nations. Affectionately known as the "Pepe's" (which means butterfly in the Hula language of the Central Province) they are highly regarded despite the amateur background from which the team is selected.

Domestically, all the main urban centres throughout the county have a netball presence and run their own weekly competitions from about March to September each year.

The nations capital Port Moresby, has the biggest netball presence more because of its urban community and facilities and also because the region has a historical association with the sport even from as long ago as colonial times. In Port Moresby two competitions are played during the year the first is the main town competition from which this blog will be deriving much of its stories and two off-season competitions, the first called the "Private Companies Netball Club" PCNC and the "Public Service Netball Association" PSNA. These two competitions are played from about September to April each year.

The amazing raw talent is inspirational ensuring the game continues to progress. It is healthy, competitive, promotes good skills and teamwork and a excellent social point for women, family and friends.

The normal town competition includes a junior and senior division and encourages young girls to join and participate in a community spirit somewhat lacking in society itself.

The finals are now in full swing in Port Moresby and the six main teams, the Esco Telsars, City Pharmacy Rebels, Monier Paramana, Sparrows, Snax Mermaids and Veupunama have staked their claims in that respective order.

City Pharmacy Rebels this week fight for the right to play Esco Telstars who after a scare in the opening exchange last last week with the the ladies in blue, managed to book a berth in yet another premier division grand final. The Rebels play a determined Paramana team who made hard work of their game against the Sparrows. The winner of this game will go on to meet the Telstars next weekend.

Similar outcomes were recorded throughout the competition which includes Division 1, 2 and 3 competitions as well as U21, U17, U15, U13 and U10 in the junior competitions.

This first blog is dedicated to the juniors from which the future of netball rests so be there early this week to watch the kids play. The images I have added here are a random selection of images from throughout the season. Near the Hoop is a weekly newspaper providing information, news and trivia on netball to all that follow the sport in the country. I hope you enjoy this small contribution to the sport in PNg and hopefully provide those outside PNG to appreciate the complexities of promoting the sport in this country.

It's finals time so see you all at the courts.