Netball Is Back!

PUBLISHED: 10:44 03 February 2014 | UPDATED: 10:45 03 February 2014

Netball

Netball

Archant

Games of netball are spreading across the playground, but this time it’s not the children who are playing.

Netball is back with a vengeance. It is the latest trend, taking the playground by storm. Watch out because it’s the hot topic at the school gate this term and it might just be you strutting yourself on the court next September! With many ‘Back To Netball’ campaigns up and down the country, eager folk are dusting off their netball attire, filing their nails and setting up netball teams. Ok, so maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but I kid you not, the netball court is where it’s at and that is where I find myself most Tuesday evenings, playing in our local team (Tiddington Netball Team aka TNT).

We came together on a bit of a whim really. A group of mums sharing a love of netball, albeit a nostalgic one! A few cups of tea and the odd glass of wine later, TNT was born. News spread quickly and recruits were coming in from all corners of the playground. No experience was necessary, just a desire to have fun and the ability to occasionally catch a ball. All this netball talk ignited a fire deep within our jelly bellies (sorry ladies) and the desire to share what we remembered about the sport took hold. Game rules were a little hazy but we had no doubt it would all come flooding back once we were in position. Also, the opportunity to ‘escape’ into the night air once a week - without kids in tow - was most appealing and before long we were training each Tuesday evening slowly and ever so slowly, a team was starting to take shape. What shape was it? We weren’t exactly sure but nothing dampened our enthusiasm.

TNT embraced those first training sessions with great gusto, humour and, in all honesty, slight reservation. I recall much hilarity during the first few sessions when most of us could hardly cover half of the court without breaking out in a mad sweat, gasping for breath and turning ever-so-nearly purple. Water bottles became an essential, as did a first aid kit. Falling over, manhandling others and general clownish behaviour were commonplace as was the need to visit the loo frequently. We often wondered what the karate class on the court next door thought. Indeed, they were hidden behind a curtain but our grunting, puffing and uncouth hysteria were still all too obvious! After each session we would re-group (as it has now become known) at the local pub and discuss our progress. Crisps, nuts and alcohol were just the tonic. Conversation soon turned to joining a local Netball Fun League. Could we? Should we? Would we? Well, we did.

We discovered that the Netball Fun League was exactly that. Fun. We laughed off our mortifying defeats, drowned our sorrows at the pub and made promises to play better next time. Lessons learnt from our first games included the following: do not run away from the ball, refrain from consuming any alcohol before any game and wear a pantyliner! No details needed. Games were gruelling and our opposition looked at us with amusement, frustration and pity. Still, we were tolerated, guided and congratulated when we played well. TNT did not give up and saw the season through, right to the bitter end. Twisted ankles, sprained fingers, shocking bruises and even mild concussion did not blight our drive to fight on.

Our second Netball Fun League season is coming to a close and it’s been an absolute hoot. We have tasted the glory, smelled the victory and certainly felt the pain. Three recent wins behind us and a team worth fighting for. Positions established, rules adhered too and a toss-up second to none. Almost a year after getting together, team TNT is most definitely here to stay. We even have our own kit (sparkles included). I do hope Cup Final Night is ready for us!

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