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Our Journey

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).

Timeline

1970

THE U21 TEAM WAS FORMED

1944

THE FIRST COUNTY TEAM, CARMARTHEN, WAS FORMED

1945

THE WALES NETBALL ASSOCIATION WAS FOUNDED

1949

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.

1951

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.

1957

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.

1959

EDITH PARRY WAS APPOINTED FIRST WELSH OPEN TEAM COACH

1960

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).

1962

HOME INTERNATIONAL MATCHES WERE TRANSFERRED TO THE MORE SUITABLE FACILITY AT R.A.F. ST. ATHAN

1963

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.

1968

THE FIRST AGM TO BE HELD IN WALES WAS HELD IN NEWTOWN


1969

THE U18 NATIONAL TEAM WAS FORMED (DISCONTINUED IN 1997)


1970

THE WELSH TEAM PLAYED IN SCARLET SKIRTS FOR THE FIRST TIME

1970

THE U21 TEAM WAS FORMED

1970

THE FIRST NEWSLETTER WAS PRODUCED

1971

WALES COMPETED IN THE 3RD WORLD NETBALL CHAMPIONSHPS

Held in Kingston Jamaica, finishing 7th out of 9

1972

WALES U21 BEAT ENGLAND

The Welsh U21 team, coached by Carol Roberts, beat England U21 by 25 goals to 24

1972

FIRST RULE BOOK PRINTED

With the permission of the INF, the Association printed the Rules Book.

1973

WELSH TEAM TRIALS WERE HELD IN WALES AT THE NATIONAL SPORTS CENTRE, CARDIFF

1974

THE THREE WELSH TERRITORIES WERE REPLACED BY EIGHT AREA ASSOCIATIONS

1975

THE INAUGURAL NATIONAL CLUBS CHAMPIONSHIPS IS HELD

Held with Newport Athletic Club, becoming the first National Champions

1977

WALES, COACHED BY WENDY WHITE, DREW 41 ALL WITH ENGLAND IN COVENTRY.

1978

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.

1979

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

1980

WALES BEAT ENGLAND

Wales, coached by Wendy White, beat England by 33 goals to 29 in Plymouth

1982

WALES U18 BEAT ENGLAND

Wales U18, coached by Carol Roberts, beat England U18 by 23 goals to 20

1983

THE U16 NATIONAL TEAM WAS FORMED (DISCONTINUED IN 1996)

1984

WALES U21 BEAT ENGLAND... AGAIN!

Wales U21, coached by Wendy White, beat England U21 by 23 goals to 21

1988

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

1989

THE WNA EMPLOYED ITS FIRST MEMBER OF STAFF AND RENTED ITS FIRST OFFICE

1991

THE WNA EMPLOYED ITS FIRST TECHNICAL DIRECTOR

1992

THE WNA BECAME A LIMITED COMPANY AND THE FIRST BOARD OF DIRECTORS WAS FORMED

1992

THE WNA BECAME A LIMITED COMPANY AND THE FIRST BOARD OF DIRECTORS WAS FORMED

1993

WALES COMPETED IN THE WORLD GAMES IN THE HAGUE, FINISHING LAST OF SIX


1996

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

1997

WALES U21 DRAW WITH ENGLAND

Wales U21, coached by Sheila Cooksley, drew 21 all with England U21

1998

WALES FIRST APPEARANCE IN THE COMMONWEALTH GAMES

1998

THE U17 AND U19 NATIONAL TEAMS WERE FORMED

1999

WNA EMPLOYED ITS FIRST NATIONAL PERFORMANCE DIRECTOR

2000

WALES FINISH 7TH

The fourth WYNC was held in Cardiff, with Wales finishing 7th out of 12

2001

WALES RECORD HISTORIC AWAY WIN

Wales, coached by Raewyn Henry, beat England by 59 goals to 58 in Canterbury

2002

HELEN WESTON BECAME WALES MOST CAPPED PLAYER WITH 111 CAPS

2005

THE CELTIC DRAGONS TEAM WAS FORMED TO COMPETE IN THE NATIONAL SUPER LEAGUE

2009

THE WNA OFFICES MOVED TO THE SPORT WALES NATIONAL CENTRE, CARDIFF

2010

WNA EMPLOYED ITS FIRST PROFESSIONAL HIGH PERFORMANCE COACH

2012

LEANNE THOMAS BECOMES WALES' YOUNGEST PLAYER

Leanne Thomas, aged 16 years, 4 months and 21 days, became the youngest player to play for Wales.

2013

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

2015

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

2018

WALES FINISH 11TH AT GOLD COAST

Wales finished 11th at the Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast, Australlia.

2021

SARA MOORE BECOMES WALES HEAD COACH

Sara Moore a previous Wales international netballer, is appointed Head Coach of the Wales senior squad.

2022

SUZY DRANE BREAKS RECORD

Suzy Drane became Wales' most capped netballer in July 2022, surpassing the previous record set by Helen Weston of 111 caps.

2022

WALES FINISH 8TH AT BIRMINGHAM

Wales finished 8th at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, UK.

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