Netball continues to be one of the country’s fastest growing sports and netball clubs across the nation are experiencing unprecedented demand. COVID-19 has put a halt to netball activity in Wales, however once things begin to return to normal, there will be a couple of clubs which will hungry to get back to action…
One of these is Rhydyfelin Netball Club (pictured top) which was established in 2015 by a small group of friends who wanted to get together and get fit. As busy family women they wanted to get some of their ‘me’ time back as well! Those six friends soon turned into two teams: ‘Rhyd’ and ‘Felin’. Fast-forward five years and the club now has over 60 senior players as well as thriving junior section!
Claire Stone, Chair of Rhydyfelin Netball Club explained further. She said: “We currently have 6 teams in the A470 League across all four divisions and our junior section are playing within the Bridgend Junior League.
“Over the past five years we have supported our members in developing through both the umpiring and coaching pathways. We currently have five Level 2 qualified coaches and three qualified umpires. As a club we actively encourage our members to undertake the ‘Intro to Umpiring’ qualification and also the ‘Netball Leaders’ qualifications so they can participate in netball events throughout the community.”
Stone added: “It is not always plain sailing having a club full of females! There certainly have been some obstacles to overcome and we have had our fair share of injuries! With the support of our committee throughout the last five years along with the dedication of our players and their families we have been able to grow and continue to grow; allowing women and girls to participate in netball.”
Head further north and you will find another netball club that has been on a remarkable journey of growth over the last few years: Merthyr Ladies Netball Club.
Merthyr celebrated twelve years of netball this month. The club was started in 2008 by local PE teacher, Rebecca Pilarz. Within two years the club had developed an A and B team and started looking into creating a junior section.
Fast forward twelve years and Merthyr Ladies Netball Club now has 10 teams – both seniors and juniors catering for a range of ages and providing wonderful opportunities for women and girls in Merthyr Tydfil to keep fit and develop their netball skills. They also have just started a new Mini netball session for children in school years 2-5.
Joanna Fisher, Merthyr Ladies Netball Club Secretary said: “Merthyr has a committed group of coaches, players and the most supportive families that help the club grow. The club does a lot of fundraising work within the community and has secured sponsorships from a range of local businesses. They have also provided mascots to support the Welsh senior squad as well as Celtic Dragons in the Superleague.
“We now have 5 senior teams playing in the A470 League, the A team is in Division 1, the B’s and C’s in Division 2 and the newly formed D and Youth teams in Division 4.”
Rhydyfelin and Merthyr are just two examples of the incredible work being done by netball clubs across Wales. Our ever-growing netball community continues to provide increasing health and well-being benefits to women and girls up and down the country. Once the COVID-19 lockdown is over, sports halls across the land are sure to be abuzz again with squeaking trainers and umpires’ whistles!