Washout weekend for netball

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Rain may have been welcome for the farming community but it was not welcomed by the netball fraternity on Saturday.
Primary netball was cancelled by 8.15am but the cancellation committee waited as long as possible before making the decision to cancel the senior games as well.
The possibility of covering our courts has been thrown around occasionally — usually in jest — and it is on days like Saturday that the idea sounds inviting.
However, we are so lucky in Central Otago to have such a reliable winter climate. Generally we have one cancellation a year, and the occasional late start because of ice.
Saturday was to have been the beginning of the ANZ Futureferns programme, in which netball is introduced to 5 to 6-year-olds. The aim is to develop fundamental movement and ball skills.
The game that follows the preceding skill session is played on one third of a full-sized court, by teams of four, with the emphasis on equal participation.
The FutureFerns start their season this Saturday.
A new initiative to encourage new umpires, also set to begin last weekend, was a mentored Junior Umpiring Academy.
New, young umpires are buddied up with more experienced umpires or exumpires who will watch them while they are umpiring, giving advice and guidance until they are ready to sit their centre practical exam.
Academy umpires will start umpiring in the senior grades of primary netball and will progress up to senior netball at their mentors’ discretion.
A goal for these academy umpires is to attend representative tournaments at the end of the season. Seven girls are in the programme and there may be another intake later in the season.
I am thrilled to be one of the mentors and am looking forward to seeing Aja develop as an umpire. As the only year 8 pupil in the current programme, this will be a challenge for Aja , but I know that she’s up to the challenge.
CLUB PROFILES
It might be interesting to have a look at the make-up of some of the clubs and schools this season.
Alexandra Club has two teams this season. The A is in A grade and looks to be competitive, having notched up a win in the first game to Loose Contracting.
A relatively young team, these girls play with passion and enthusiasm. A team to watch.
Alexandra Green will be one to watch in the B grade with a win on the first round.
It is good to see Cromwell College entering six teams into the competition. While Cromwell isalways strong at primary level, it has seen quite a drop-off over the past few years, so this is most pleasing to see players staying involved.
Cromwell Club has two teams — Social in B Grade and Vic Arms in C Grade.
Cromwell Social is sure to be the thorn in the side of its opposition. Experienced and wily would be a fair description of these players.
Dunstan has entered 10 teams spread across the four grades. Dunstan A and B are both in A grade, and will be worth watching.
Envy has 14 registered players and is placed in B Grade this season. Although this is a jump up from previous years, Envy looks to have a more balanced line-up, with strength throughout the court.
A number of new names on the team sheet will be interesting viewing.
Ex-Girls is back to two teams, one in A grade and the Social team in D Grade. Both teams are made up of many players with experience and commitment to their netball.
Although the A team lost to Molyneux in the first round, the score was not an indication of the calibre of this team. Ex-Girls could well be the game-changer within A Grade, and the Social team should be dominant in D Grade, aiming for promotion.
Loose Contracting has a strong registration list of 15 players. On paper this team looks as though it will be more competitive than the 27-2 loss to Alexandra A shows.
Maybe there are too many players to choose from? To me this is the team to watch!
Always playing quietly in the background, the Maniototo Club has two teams again: Maniototo Blue and Maniototo Women.
Blue is the school team and is entered in C Grade, while the Women are in the strongly contested B Grade. These teams travel at least an hour to play and are truly committed to their netball.
Monteiths Molyneux A is the flagship for the Molyneux Club and a strong contender for A grade again, and the White and Black teams both entered into C Grade.
From my calculations, this is Molyneux’s 40th year, so what a great way to celebrate this than with wins in the two grades.
Roxburgh Club is entering two teams. Blue is in B Grade while White will be playing in D Grade.
What a shame that Roxburgh has dropped out of the top echelon where it competed for years. Maybe we’ll see the Pringle girls reforming in the next few years, as Ex-Girls has done.
Roxburgh Area School also has two teams. The As are in A grade and the Bs are in C Grade.
Roxburgh, traditionally, has developed through the year and I am fully expecting that again in 2016.
Games are being played on Saturday, following a similar draw to the cancelled draw.