Photos of players in gym slips and long black stockings caused plenty of laughter as players, past and present, came together for the 60th anniversary celebrations of the United Netball Club in Dannevirke on Saturday.

United is the longest continuously running netball team in the Dannevirke competition and Robin McLean, who began the club, along with Margaret Clarke and Barbara Walsh, couldn't believe it was six decades on from those early days when the team played their netball at the South School.

And while the occasion was officially the 60th anniversary of the club, it was also time to celebrate the remarkable contribution Robin has made to her beloved United club and the sport of netball in Dannevirke.

"I was 20 when I started in the days of nine-a-side netball," she said.

Te Aroha (Dimples) Edwards, an original United team member, was there to share precious memories, but two other originals, Robyn Ingram and Jill Howse (nee Bond), were unable to attend.

"The most important thing when organising United during all those years was to have very loyal players who turned up every week to play," Robin said.

"I was lucky to have a great bunch of girls who did just that."


In the early 1980s there were 43 teams playing in the Dannevirke senior netball competition, but now there were only 12, something which is disappointing, Robin said.

"In those early days we had 300 women taking to the courts. It was so busy," she said.

Diane Bowie, known as the top shot, goal shoot, recalled her days in the team uniform.

"We had pleated gym slips and long black stockings which wouldn't stay up, despite our suspender belts.

"We had to pull our bloomers down over the top," she said.

"When we fell over we'd get a ladder in those stockings."

Nancy Wadsworth played for United in 1961 before going on to play for another team.

"Robin (McLean) was the person who enabled people to do things like that," she said.

Robin hopes to see the United club continue, but admits she's probably done her dash.

"However, I hope to make the sideline next season as often as I can," she said.