Netball: The Essentials
Last Updated: Monday, September 13, 2010 | 7:43 PM ET
By Jesse Campigotto, CBC Sports
Netball may look like it's just basketball without a backboard, but there's a little more to it than that.
A core Commonwealth Games sport for women only, the sport is making its fourth appearance since being introduced at the 1998 Games in Malaysia.
Popular primarily in Commonwealth countries, netball is reminiscent of basketball in that two teams attempt to put a ball through a ring mounted 10 feet high on a pole. Unlike basketball, there's no backboard and no dribbling. Players can take only one step with the ball and hold it for no more than three seconds. Also, goals can be scored only from inside a "shooting circle" (actually a semicircle with a 4.9-metre radius marked at each end of the court), and players are restricted to certain areas on the court based on their designated position. So the object of the sport is for players to pass the ball to a teammate who's inside the shooting circle to attempt a shot.
Australia and New Zealand have played for the gold medal each time the sport has appeared at the Commonwealth Games, with the Aussies (nicknamed the Netball Diamonds) winning the first two matchups before the Silver Ferns dethroned them on enemy territory in Melbourne in 2006.
England has captured the bronze medal twice, with Jamaica taking the other.
Canada, ranked 22nd in the world, does not have an entry in the 12-team tournament this year, which takes place at 4,500-seat Thyagaraj Sports Complex.
Australia, New Zealand, England and Jamaica are the top four teams in the world, and will likely battle for the medals. But keep an eye on fifth-ranked Fiji, which could have the element of surprise thanks to its light international schedule.
Day 11 (Oct. 14)
- Gold and bronze medal matches.