Bush Netball saw the end of a very crazy netball season on September 26, although for a while there we were not even sure we would have a season, let alone make it to the end of two rounds.
We started our year with some preseason training sessions, way back at the end of January. These proved to be quite popular. We hope to look towards doing the same again next year. These led in to trials, which were held at the end of February and saw good numbers in attendance.
Four teams were registered to compete in the Coffee Club competition in Palmerston North. Most teams managed to get in a practice or two before lockdown came into effect and we all had to hit pause.
When we got the green light to start again in June there were understandably a few changes that had to be made to teams due to the change of circumstances and the season length. Unfortunately, this meant some players had to withdraw, and I would like to say thank you to the players who came on board then to allow us to refill these teams and keep them in the competition.
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This year's A1 team saw the return of 2019 coaches Christa Welch and Nicole McHardy as well as the bulk of their players from last season, plus a couple of new additions (both old and new faces). They had a great year, starting their season in Prem 3 and taking out the first round to be elevated to Prem 2, where they did themselves proud, finishing in fourth place.
The Old Girls team this year would have had to have seen their steadiest playing roster in recent years, which paid off. They played their first round in Senior Reserve A1 grade and did not drop a game. This earned them a place in the Seniors 2nd B grade, where they were unlucky not to come out on the right side of the ledger more often, with three bonus-point losses for the round. They finished their season in sixth place.
The A2s were coached this year by Charlie Edwards and Dana Broughton and were a real mixture of youth and experience, which made for a lot of enthusiasm. It was fantastic to watch all the team benefit and grow from this. They were very unlucky not to go up after their first round, only just missing out.
They then took to round 2 with a lot of determination and did not a game until the final. They finished the season a very respectable second. Huge congratulations go to team members Kaia Flitten and Maia Richards who were selected in Manawatu U18 and U14 development teams.
This year's A3 team was coached by me and was the team that experienced the most juggling due to the change in season. They were fortunate to welcome a couple of new faces post-lockdown who enabled them to field a team. It took them a few weeks to gel, which unfortunately saw them go down a grade for the second round. This was something they were not happy with so they put everything into the second round, coming out with a competition win after a final that went to extra time!
Ali Nagel took on the umpiring duties for both the A3 and Old Girls this year.
This year we secured some wonderful sponsorship that enabled us to buy some club hoodies, which not only kept us warm but also made us easy to spot at the courts on a Saturday. In addition to this, we received some funding which - added to the fundraisers the committee have been undertaking - will see us take to the courts next year in new playing uniforms.