Num­bers boom­ing as sea­son looms

Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - YOUR PLACE - ERIN TASKER

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.

ERIN TASKER/STUFF

Last year’s Mid Can­ter­bury pre­mier grade winners Celtic A.

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