I was really happy to see this article a few weeks back – Netball: The sport which is seeing a big boom in England, it is fantastic to hear, especially as my niece is an avid (and exceptionally good) netball player and which links nicely with what this post is all about! NETBALL!!!
Towards the end of 2017, I was extremely lucky to spend the entire weekend going back and forth to Stratford and the reason for that being I was attending various netball games and also a netball event day thanks to Vitality as part of their #WomenInSport campaign.
Watching the game on the Friday night, in the wonderful company of Tess, Laura and Lauren, was the first time I’d ever seen a proper netball game and I’ve never witnessed something so fast-paced and compelling I was soon sucked in by the excitement. Seeing the England Roses against the Malawi Queens was phenomenal.
The speed and precision of both teams were incredible to witness and I think can only be truly appreciated when watching the game live. The England Roses started off with a good lead in the first quarter, but by the final quarter, the Malawi Queens were making a comeback. The England Roses did see victory, but it was extremely tense towards the end!
I have to give a quick mention to the super tasty food we had, at Shane’s On Canalside, prior to arriving at the match. The perfect start to the evening.
On the Saturday, I went along as a guest blogger of Vitality and met up with the lovely Amy, to spend the afternoon at The Copper Box where I got to see the England Roses train and then got to chat with them and take some photos.
The captain, Ama Agbeze, was so lovely – and was kind enough to agree to record a video message for my niece, who as I mentioned is a passionate netball player. The message, I must admit brought a tear to my eye, it was so lovely.
After this, and the England team had left to rest and prepare for their Sunday match, all of the people attending this event were split into teams (being coached by the lovely Lindsay Keable and marvellous Mikki Austen) and actually took part in a netball mini-tournament. This was my first experience of netball in 20…ahem…something years and I was decidedly nervous – I wasn’t particularly sporty kid when I was at school and so don’t have the greatest memories of netball from back then.
This tournament totally changed my feelings towards netball and I truly had so much fun. I did stick with the position of Goal Keeper for the entire tournament, but I was happy there. It was brilliant playing, but we were mixed adults and kids, and when Goal Attack was a child I did feel I had to be careful – but they weren’t so concerned! Haha!
In the end, our team actually won the mini-tournament! Go us!!! Whoop Whoop!!!
So then it was back to Copper Box on the Sunday to watch another match, the place was starting to feel like my second home, between the England Roses and Malawi Queens, with my niece and sister-in-law.
It was so great to watch the Roses play again, another very close match. The support of the Malawi fans was contagious and you could see really spurred their team on closing the gap on the score between the Roses and the Queens, but fortunately for us, it was another Roses victory.
We were also picked out by the Sky presenter to take part in their halftime competition, which my niece won (I let her win… honestly…) and eventually resulted in her getting tickets to watch England again – this time against Australia. So that was a fab outcome and totally unexpected.
This next part is not so much to do with the netball, but I couldn’t leave it out of the blog post – the three of us then went and ate at Ginger and Mint – it’s so good in there and brilliant for someone like me with all my weird sensitivities! I highly recommend it.
So, all in all, I had the most amazing time and I know one day I would love to join a local netball team, unfortunately at the moment there aren’t enough hours in the day – but there is a small part of me now that wishes I’d selected netball instead of football to partake in as my chosen team sport – but then hindsight is funny like that!
I am so grateful to Vitality though for this experience and for it changing my thoughts and feelings regarding netball and if you’ve ever wanted to give it a try – I say go do it! See if you can find a local team here and if you do, please me let me know how you get on! 🙂
Are there any sports you previously didn’t like as a child but then experienced them again as an adult and it changed how you felt? I’d love to hear your stories – please share in the comments below 🙂 xxx