Mas­ters net­ballers make mis­chief on court

Central Leader - - SPORT - By LAUREN PRIESTLEY

Court­side chin-wags are all part of the game for th­ese Auck­land net­ballers.

Liz Fitzgib­bon, Jenny Woods and Lynda Dahlberg are head­ing to the New Zealand Mas­ters Games in Dunedin next week and have high hopes of con­tin­u­ing their tra­di­tion of re­turn­ing home with a medal or two.

But the real rea­son for the get­away is to have some laughs and get up to a bit of mis­chief, they say.

The group is made up of net­ballers from the Auck­land team Mul­lets and bas­ket­ball play­ers from mas­ters team Or­sum.

They al­ter­nate be­tween the sports each year at the games.

Grey Lynn res­i­dent Liz Fitzgib­bon, 57, has been play­ing bas­ket­ball for 40 years and started net­ball a few years ago.

‘‘They are dif­fer­ent games but have a sim­i­lar skill set.

‘‘At the start it was just a weekend away from our kids – bliss!’’

Get­ting away for a cou­ple of days was def­i­nitely a draw­card in the be­gin­ning, 52-year-old Jenny Woods says.

‘‘You’d look for­ward to it for weeks when your kids were lit­tle be­cause it’s just so busy.

‘‘Now it’s more of a use it or lose it thing. I feel like if we can still pull out a team it’s just an en­durance test at this stage.’’

Ms Woods started up with the Wind­mill Rd based team about 20 years ago while she was liv­ing in San­dring­ham.

The team has been around since the 70s and picked up its cur­rent name af­ter a sports­man com­mented that ‘‘watch­ing net­ball is a bit like watch­ing mul­lets’’.

The Mul­lets are in the mod­er­ately com­pet­i­tive

stunned 40-plus age group at the games this year.

Lynda Dahlberg says the play­ers’ at­ti­tude to net­ball has changed over the years but they still love the game.

‘‘It starts off be­ing about the sport and fit­ness then it slowly be­comes more about the so­cial side and get­ting to­gether.’’

New Zealand Mas­ters Games Dunedin man­ager Vicki Kestila says an ex­pected 5500 ath­letes will be com­pet­ing, with 137 reg­is­tered from Auck­land.

The games are a chance for peo­ple of the ‘‘same breed’’ to get to­gether, she says.

‘‘The con­cept of the games is about par­tic­i­pa­tion. It’s the full range. Ev­ery­one just loves the at­mos­phere.’’

Photo: LAUREN PRIESTLEY

Balling bud­dies: Liz Fitzgib­bon, Jenny Woods and Lynda Dahlberg love catch­ing up on the court.

Go to cen­tral­leader. co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to see a video of the 2013 New Zealand Mas­ters Games.

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