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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 March 2007, 17:08 GMT
Sonia Mkoloma's diary

Sonia Mkoloma
By Sonia Mkoloma
England international defender and Brunel Hurricanes captain

Netball, Netball, Netball, where do I start! That is all that my closest friends and some strangers have been talking to me about. Not that I mind.

I was included in the England team that beat South Africa in January in a three-Test series whitewash, which may I say was very convincing, so it has been a hectic time. This was also televised and over 21,000 spectators came to watch, no wonder netball's on the tips of everyone's lips!

I am now back with my Superleague team Brunel and with my absences during my international duties, the rest of the girls have been training really hard both with their fitness levels and tactics. This meant that I had to settle back into it very quickly, as we had our next game the following weekend.

The England netball team
Sonia (GD bib) helped England win 2006 Commonwealth Games bronze

We welcomed back our goal shooter Josie Leutton, who has been plagued with injury since the start of the season, which also ruled her out of the England team.

We played Northern Thunder on February 4 and although we lost the first quarter 8-11 we managed to win the game 41-26.

I have noticed that teams lower in the table raise their game when they play us, which I guess is a compliment.

The following weekend we lost 52-28 to Team Bath in front of a sell-out crowd at the Guildford Spectrum.

With a team like Bath, you cannot afford to give them an inch at any point in the game and you have to have all players firing at all times. They are a very skilful team who work as a good cohesive unit, that's why they are at the top of the table and last year's champions. They aim not to give any other team a sniff at taking their title. All respect to them.

Whilst training at Superleague, I am also training with the England team. We have our biggest home Test tri-series in May, it's going to be huge. We are playing Australia and New Zealand and an England A team is being formed.

There will be a lot of emotions flowing as my team-mates and I are not just out to perform well, but to beat the two southern hemisphere teams. I don't like to lose and play to win at all costs!

'Marg' our England coach has us training really hard and we all know why. We go into our first week camp in mid-March and believe me, it will be intense!

The England players cannot wait to put our hard training into practice when we play Australia and New Zealand.

Amanda Newton, who also captains Mavericks, our newly appointed England captain and my good friend, also cannot wait to put our hard training into practice when we play the Aussies and Kiwis. It will be a good opportunity to try out combinations before we hit them at the World Championships in November in New Zealand.

Amanda and I spend a lot of time together outside of netball, but that is the last thing we talk about when we get on the blower - we normally discuss, guys, clothes and parties!

I managed to get away for a bit before the Leeds match to New York which was a surprise from my brother. I was fortunate enough to have been given a training programme to complete whilst I was away so there was no rest for the wicked!

As the Superleague hit its midway mark we had to travel up to Leeds to play Leeds Met Carnegie which we won very convincingly.

Then five days later was one of the highlights of the season - the London derby with Mavericks.

We clinched a 37-36 victory and won with a goal in the last seconds! I think that sent out a clear message, that Hurricanes have an unbelievable spirit.

Sonia is 28 and has played in two World Championships and the Commonwealth Games with England. She lives in west London and works as a young person's support worker. She will be writing a series of articles for the BBC Sport website throughout the year.

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12 Feb 07 |  Netball
Brunel blow up a storm
09 Feb 07 |  Netball
England clinch netball bronze
26 Mar 06 |  Commonwealth Games
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