The Coronavirus pandemic has had a big effect on Wales’ netball community and in particular its thriving netball clubs. Leagues across Wales were in full swing when the lockdown meant that netball, for now, had to be stopped. It was a great shame as clubs whose players had been working really hard towards national competitions saw their finals postponed. However, Welsh netballers have never been ones to sit and sulk and one netball club had a fantastic response to the current adversity…

The Under 14 team of Holywell Netball Club in Flintshire were due to head south to Merthyr Tydfil for their final in May, but when the suspension of netball meant that couldn’t happen, club coach Kate Pierce had a moment of inspiration. She set her players a challenge – could they cover the 143 miles (230km) it would have taken to travel to South Wales through exercising?

An ambitious goal, but Holywell NC’s netballers – as well as some of their siblings and parents – were up for the challenge! Participants regularly posted their walks, runs and cycles from tracking apps onto Holywell NC’s Facebook group and Kate kept a track of their progress. In less than a week, Holywell NC had completed the journey!

Speaking about the challenge, Kate said: “After the finals were postponed, I thought it would be a great idea to cover the distance from Holywell to Merthyr as a club, through any form of physical exercise. The reaction has been amazing: parents, players and siblings have all been getting active and contributing to the distance.

“Physical activity is so important right now and as club we were motivating each other to complete our virtual journey!”

Motivation was certainly key as looking at the reaction of players and parents to the challenge it is clear to see just how much the club community spurred one another on. Not only that, but much of the exercise took place in family units showing just how socially as well as physically beneficial it is to keep active at this time.

Exercising under lockdown might not be the same as competing for a national title in the sport you love, but Holywell’s inspirational challenge certainly had a fantastic positive impact on the community and Kate and the club should feel very proud. Let’s hope we see Holywell Netball Club back on court very soon and competing at the highest level once again!