The Creation of Wales Netball

At Wales Netball (Formal Company Name is Wales Netball Association -WNA) our mission has always been to promote and develop Netball within Wales by organising domestic and international competition and disseminating knowledge. Today this is done by the Officers, Directors and professional staff of Wales Netball on behalf of the members.

The exact date when the Association was founded is not known, but, despite this, there is evidence that Netball was played in Wales in the late 1930’s when a Miss George, of the YMCA, organised matches for the South Wales Coalfield Federation and a Miss Pugh Williams arranged matches in Cardiff.

What is known though, is that, sometime between 1943 and 1945, Marion Morton, P.E. Mistress at the Mary Datchelor School, which was evacuated to Llanelli for the duration of World War 2, along with Beatrice Williams, Carmarthen County P.E. Organiser, formed a small committee with other County P.E. Organisers. This later became the WNA, with the English Miss Morton as the first Hon Secretary, Beatrice Williams, Chair, Annie Rogers, HMI, President and Margaret Lewis, later to become an HMI, as Treasurer. In 1981, in the absence of the early records, the Executive Committee of the WNA agreed that the Association be considered to have been founded in 1945.

Wales Netball Continues to Grow

In the five years that the Mary Datchelor School was in Wales, as well as helping to found the WNA, Marion Morton arranged annual “rallies” for local and evacuated schools and founded the first county team, Carmarthen, which competed in the English Inter-Counties Tournament in 1944/5. Later, one of her pupils, Mary French, helped coach Wales in 1985 and instigated the Mary French Award, for Service to the WNA, in 1989.

For ease of administration, the WNA at that time divided Wales into the two Territories of North and South Wales, the North, including the six Counties of Anglesey, Caernarvon, Denbigh, Flint, Merioneth and Montgomery and the South the remaining seven, Brecon, Cardigan, Carmarthen, Glamorgan, Monmouth, Pembroke and Radnor. Representatives of each county joined the Officers of the Association to form an Executive Committee which met three times a year at a central venue, which, until 1967, was either Shrewsbury or Hereford.

Memberships Are Open

Money to pay for the administration of the game came in the form of membership fees and fund raising and in 1952, with the affiliation fee at 4/6p per club, there was just £15 in the Bank and it was not until 1967 that the WNA received its’ first public grant of £130 from the Department of Education and Science. Today the Association has an annual income of over £700,000 with monies coming from affiliation fees, grant aid from Sport Wales, sponsorship, sales and fund-raising, and has grown from the 23 affiliated clubs in 1965 to 195 in 2015.

Time for a Reshuffle

Since its early days, the Association has had four periods of re-organisation, the first in 1963, when a third Territory, Mid Wales was formed, to which the counties of Brecon, Cardigan, Merioneth and Montgomery were transferred; the second in 1974, when Local Authority re-organisation led to the WNA abolishing the three Territories and replacing them and the Counties with the eight Areas that exist today; the third in 1988 when the first member of staff was employed and office opened and the last, and most radical, in 1992, when the Association became a Company Limited by Guarantee and the Executive Committee was replaced by a Board.

As well as promoting Netball within Wales, the Association has been keen to further international relationships and has always been involved in both World and European Netball, having been one of the eight founder members of The International Federation of Women’s Basketball and Netball Associations (now the International Netball Federation) and a founder member of The Federation of European Netball Associations (now Netball Europe).



The Mary Datchelor School, from London, was evacuated to Llanelli
The first County team, Carmarthen, was formed
The Wales Netball Association was founded
The first International matches were played against England and Scotland.
The first International matches were played against England and Scotland, outdoors, at Wembley. Wales lost to England by 3 goals to 25 but beat Scotland by 14 goals 13.
The first Wales home international match was played
The first home international match was played outdoors, at Cathays High School, Cardiff, as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. Wales lost to England by 7 goals to 26.
The first indoor international matches took place in Cardiff at the Sophia Gardens Pavilion.
Wales lost to both England and Scotland, by 5 goals to 34 and 9 goals to 16 respectively. Elsie Kettley represented Wales at the first international meeting to discuss a common set of playing rules.
Edith Parry was appointed first Welsh Open team coach
The WNA becomes one of the eight founding members of the INF
The WNA was one of the eight founder members of the International Federation of Women’s Netball and Basketball Associations (now the International Netball Federation).
Home international matches were transferred to the more suitable facility at R.A.F. St. Athan
Wales competed in the First World Netball Tournament
Held in Eastbourne and finished 10th out of 11 teams. Mid Wales N.A was formed, into which the Counties of Cardigan, Brecon, Merioneth and Montgomery were transferred.
The first AGM to be held in Wales was held in Newtown
The U18 national team was formed (discontinued in 1997)
The Welsh team played in scarlet skirts for the first time
The U21 team was formed
The first Newsletter was produced
Wales competed in the 3rd World Netball Championshps
Held in Kingston Jamaica, finishing 7th out of 9
Wales U21 Beat England
The Welsh U21 team, coached by Carol Roberts, beat England U21 by 25 goals to 24
First Rule Book Printed
With the permission of the INF, the Association printed the Rules Book.
Welsh team trials were held in Wales at the National Sports Centre, Cardiff
The three Welsh Territories were replaced by eight Area Associations
The inaugural National Clubs Championships is held
Held with Newport Athletic Club, becoming the first National Champions
Wales, coached by Wendy White, drew 41 all with England in Coventry.
Wales Draw with England
Wales, coached by Wendy White, drew 24 all with England in Stoke. The first Life Members, Margaret Lewis and Jean Roderick, were appointed.
Wales compete in the 5th World Tournament
At the 5th World Tournament in Trinidad, Wales, coached by Wendy White, achieved their best ever result, finishing equal 6th out of 19 competing countries and drawing 34 with Jamaica
Wales Beat England
Wales, coached by Wendy White, beat England by 33 goals to 29 in Plymouth
Wales U18 Beat England
Wales U18, coached by Carol Roberts, beat England U18 by 23 goals to 20
The U16 national team was formed (discontinued in 1996)
Wales U21 Beat England... again!
Wales U21, coached by Wendy White, beat England U21 by 23 goals to 21
Wales U21 competed in the 1st World Youth Netball Cup
Wales U21 competed in the 1st World Youth Netball Cup in Canberra, Australia, finishing 5th out of 9
The WNA employed its first member of staff and rented its first office
The WNA employed its first Technical Director
The WNA became a Limited Company and the first Board of Directors was formed
Wales competed in the World Games in The Hague, finishing last of six
Wales U21 Finish 7th
At the 3rd WYNC in Toronto, Canada, Wales U21, coached by Sheila Cooksley, achieved their best finishing position of 7th out of 18
Wales U21 Draw with England
Wales U21, coached by Sheila Cooksley, drew 21 all with England U21
Wales first appearance in the Commonwealth Games
The U17 and U19 national teams were formed
WNA employed its first National Performance Director
Wales Finish 7th
The fourth WYNC was held in Cardiff, with Wales finishing 7th out of 12
Wales Record Historic Away Win
Wales, coached by Raewyn Henry, beat England by 59 goals to 58 in Canterbury
Helen Weston became Wales most capped player with 111 caps
The Celtic Dragons team was formed to compete in the National Super league
The WNA offices moved to the Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff
WNA employed its first professional High Performance Coach
Leanne Thomas becomes Wales' Youngest Player
Leanne Thomas, aged 16 years, 4 months and 21 days, became the youngest player to play for Wales.
Welsh Teams Fire on All Cylinders
Wales, coached by Melissa Hyndman, beat England by 37 goals to 33 in Aberdeen. The Celtic Dragons, coached by Melissa Hyndman, achieved second place in the NSL
Chelsea Lewis is the Youngest to 50
Chelsea Lewis, aged 21 years, 7 months and 23 days, became the youngest Welsh player to gain 50 caps
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