A lovely surprise greeted the many volunteers at the netball courts on Saturday when Cadbury provided a treat for the many people who regularly give up their time to ensure the success of our sport throughout the country.
It often seems that sponsorship is used to fund our national team, so it was wonderful to see coaches, umpires, managers, administrators and even those who put their hands up to muck in regularly, being recognised and acknowledged. Thank you Cadbury.
Last week was the first round of the championship round, but prior to that there were two promotion-relegation games for movement between B and C grades.
First up was Dunstan 9A playing Cromwell College Intermediate A.
The Cromwell girls played with more structure and determination to win that game 21-10 and earn promotion to B grade.
The second game saw Cromwell Vixens beat Earsnscleugh Emeralds by a very convincing 30-13 and thus move into the B grade for the rest of the season.
It was a great day for the two newbies in B grade, with Cromwell College Intermediate A beating Envy 35-23, and Cromwell Vixens taking on Dunstan 11A and winning 30-12.
Well done to both teams, you are sure to enjoy the challenge of the higher grade.
Dunstan 10A played their first game in A grade section B during the week when they played Roxburgh Area A.
The score in this game indicates the benefits of increasing the number of teams in A Grade to allow younger teams to experience stronger competition.
Roxburgh Area A won the game 50-44, with the Dunstan girls showing their strength to keep up with their opposition.
Dunstan Senior Reserve also played their first game in A grade meeting, an in-form Ex-Girls team. Dunstan appeared to be holding their own through the court, but had difficulties getting the ball into the circle past Ex-Girls defenders Kerry Fahey and Shelley Sanders.
At times, the Ex-Girls feeders were over-enthusiastic with their passes into the circle flying out of court, but this did not affect the score of 54-22 to Ex-Girls.
Cromwell College A found it difficult to keep in touch with Molyneux A, who took an early lead 14-8 at the first quarter and never let up, taking the final score to 57-29.
Although hard on the opposition, this is what we expect to see from the A grade teams, with Dunstan A meting out an impressive 66-13 victory over Dunstan B.
Molyneux and Dunstan A are the top seeds in the respective pools so these will be the hardest games for Dunstan B and Cromwell College.
There are no games for the next two weeks, games returning on July 27.
However, there is a feast of netball starting on Friday – the Netball World Cup, in Liverpool, kicks off tomorrow night with the Silver Ferns playing Malawi.
On Saturday the Ferns meet Barbados then on Sunday their pool play finishes with a game against Singapore.
On paper we would be expecting the Silver Ferns to dominate their pool, but in sport anything can happen, especially when the Malawi Queens hit the court.
The Queens upset the Ferns at the Commonwealth Games last year so this will be a game that the Silver Ferns will be wanting to take, but so will Malawi!
The game starts at 8pm tomorrow.
I have mentioned the Umpire Development Programme that is seeing more and more high school pupils taking the whistle and making an impact.
The Central Otago Netball Centre is keen to see this developing further so there is an umpire workshop for year 9 and 10 netballers being held on Saturday July 20, from 12.30pm to 2.45pm. Have a look on the Facebook page for more information and a link to registration.
Also coming up is a year 3-6 holiday programme on Wednesday, July 17.
More information on that is on the Central Otago Netball Facebook page.
Enjoy the World Cup – go the Ferns!