Saturday, 17 November 2018

WHITIANGA WEATHER

Mercury Bay Netball awarded centre status

Mercury Bay Netball awarded centre status

A few years ago a few Mercury Bay mums contemplated the netball future of their daughters and their friends. Junior Netball was going great in Mercury Bay - we were full to capacity at the Mercury Bay Area School netball courts. But as soon as girls turned 13, they had to travel to Thames to play on Wednesday nights. To play representative netball required an even bigger effort as training involved an extra trip to Thames each week. Handfuls of girls gave up netball.

We shifted our games to the netball courts at the Mercury Bay Multi-Sport Park last year already. The Sport Park is an outstanding facility and allowed us to apply to become a netball centre. By becoming a netball centre, we could create a local competition, engage teenage girls from our community back into the sport and even trial and select Mercury Bay reprentative teams. We worked hard to fulfil all the requirements for our application. In the final stages of our application the Netball Waikato zone merged with the Netball Bay of Plenty zone to form a new Netball Waikato Bay of Plenty Zone (NWBOP). During this merger, there was some restructuring within Netball New Zealand and in the process our application to become a netball centre was forgotten about.

After a meeting with NWBOP the wheels were once again in motion and two weeks ago we received the call we have been waiting for... yes Mercury Bay Netball has become the 26th netball centre of NWBOP and the 86th Netball New Zealand centre.

Our season started the beginning of May. More than 200 netballers have registered and have been put into teams. We have Junior Netball on Saturday mornings, including a new programme endorsed by Netball New Zealand to ease five to seven-year-olds into the game. On a Wednesday evening, we have five high school teams and six senior ladies teams playing Senior Netball, including the MBAS Senior A team and a team travelling from Coromandel Town each week.

Two weekends ago girls trialled for representative teams with Year 6, 7 and 8 players being named and during the coming week our Under 15 team will be named.

Our teenagers have started to come back to play and to coach and umpire our junior players. Through netball wonderful role models for our community are appearing.

We have purchased and put up our own temporary lights at the netball courts at the Sport Park in order for us to run our Wednesday night senior competition. Our next challenge is permanent lighting and to have a pavilion at the courts for netball. We are working with Sue Costello from Thames Coromandel District Council to see how we can achieve funding for this.

From June our representative teams will travel away every second Sunday to compete with the best in their age groups all around the Waikato region and in their brand new netball uniforms they will proudly represent Mercury Bay.

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.