Numbers booming as season looms
The number of people playing netball in Mid Canterbury is continuing to go through the roof.
Every year since Mid Canterbury Netball moved from the outdoor courts at Ashburton College to the EA Networks Centre stadium when it opened in May 2015, player numbers have been steadily climbing.
Mid Canterbury Netball administrator Aimee Cosgrove said the biggest growth had been in social netball, which has gained another new team this season. The social grade has grown from six teams, to 19, in recent seasons.
‘‘So people have come back. They’re coming back in because it’s a lovely surface to play on, and less injuries,’’ Cosgrove said.
Saturday netball is also booming. There’s two extra sides in the Saturday junior competition this year, meaning that all four of the indoor courts will be going from 8.45am right through to 5pm, Cosgrove said.
A big change this year in the top grade, is the new inter-centre competition moving from midweek, to two weekends. Last year, the pilot competition was played on a Thursday night and replaced the first round of Mid Canterbury’s premier grade. This season it will be played over two Sundays, April 8 and April 15, with shortened games of two 15 minute halves.
‘‘Last year we ran it as our first round and that was because our dates coincided with the other centres, but this year they don’t coincide because of the Commonwealth Games,’’ Cosgrove said.
All six of Mid Canterbury’s premier teams – Celtic, Methven, Hampstead, College, United and Southern – will again take part in the competition, along with teams from Christchurch, North Canterbury and Selwyn. South Canterbury clubs have also been invited to take part this season.
The inter-centre competition will give teams a chance to try out new combinations ahead of the Mid Canterbury premier competition starting on April 19.
Premier and premier two grades will be played on Thursday nights, and premier two has also welcomed a new team this season, with Mt Somers entering a team for the first time.
Friday night’s year three and four grade has also experienced a boost in numbers, and that will begin on May 4, while social netball starts on April 4, followed by Saturday netball on April 7.
Netball in Selwyn and Malvern begins on April 28.
Last year’s Mid Canterbury premier grade winners Celtic A.