#wedNEWSday – Let’s stay connected

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

On the 15th of February, Gloucestershire Ladies Netball Club started a Lands End to John O’Groats challenge in aid of Cheltenham and Gloucester Hospitals Charity. Their members and family’s ran/cycled/walked the 874 miles to raise money to thank our amazing NHS heroes who have worked tirelessly through the pandemic.

Taken pre-covid
This challenge was something different to what they had done in the previous lockdowns (such as ball skill challenges); to keep connected, they felt they needed a long-term challenge. A senior member Bianca suggested aiming to get to John O’Groats. There have been a wide range of members from Bee Netball to Walking Netballers, making it inclusive for all. They are regularly supporting each other on Strava for other exercises and keeping connected through Zoom quizzes.

Within 12 days of the challenge, they have managed to reach John O’Groats and have ran/walked/cycled, 200miles over the target, reaching 1000 miles. Well done to all who took part, there were participants from every age group of the club with around 50 individuals in total! It is a great achievement and the social media updates have shown how close and connected the club has become!

Picture taken pre-covid

Thank you for sharing your story and well done on achieving your challenge!

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – Let’s Stay Connected

Yeovil Netball Club – 6 week Inter Team Competition

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

Yeovil Netball Club in Somerset had been continuing to train up until Christmas ensuring they were following Covid guidance but once lockdown 3.0 started they wanted to find something to keep the club connected.

After speaking to Paula, committee member at Yeovil said that ‘We came up with the KM challenge that was set up to run for 6 weeks, starting the week beginning 11.1.21 and ending last Friday, 19.2 .21. The aim was to provide a challenge that would keep the players connected to each other, to maintain fitness for physical and mental wellbeing and provide a little inter squad competition.’

‘The challenge involved each squad (6 squads of approximately 10 players) in competition to see who could travel the furthest over the 6-week period in KMs. They could walk, run, cycle, do HIT or S&C sessions etc and then each week send their distances into me and I collated.’

Weekly score updates were given across social media so that the wider netball community could see how they are getting on. Paula said ‘I have to say it has been amazing to see how involved everyone has been and how much inter competition has been generated. In total after the 6 weeks the squads travelled an amazing 15,523 Km! With one individual contributing a whopping 2466.34km on her bike in 6 weeks.’

The winning squad, Hendford travelled 6204 km between them which is incredible, that would take them all the way past the equator! Paula mentioned ‘now we have had the green light to return to netball after March 29th, our players will be fit and ready to go. We obviously need to wait to hear from EN as to how we can safely return but our COVID-19 committee is primed and ready!’

It is amazing to see and hear how to club has been working together to complete their challenge and getting ready to return to court. We can’t wait to see your pictures when you do.

Thank you, Paula for sharing the information with us.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

Round 1&2 Superleague Round up

The Vitality Netball Superleague returned on Friday 12 February with rounds one and two taking place over four days at Production Park Studio 001, Wakefield. Both South West Franchises’ Team Bath & Severn Stars were in action in each round.

Five-time champions Team Bath Netball made their mark as they inflicted Celtic Dragons’ second defeat in the space of as many days. Anna Stembridge’s team accelerated away from their opponents to lead 31-15 at half time and didn’t relent in the second half with Betsy Creak selected as Vitality Player of the Match as they impressed with a 61-29 victory.

Team Bath Netball completed a winning weekend in the 2021 Vitality Superleague as they came through a hard-fought encounter against Loughborough Lightning with a 48-44 victory on Sunday. Vitality Player of the Match Serena Guthrie added: “That was a really tough game, Loughborough are historically a ‘finals’ side so we knew it was going to be a real step up from yesterday. I’m so proud how we just managed to hold it and pull away in the third quarter, that gave us that bit of a buffer we needed for the final period.”

Unfortunately Stars saw two defeats, firstly narrowly missing out to Strathclyde Sirens. After the game, Stars Head Coach Melissa Bessell said: “The game tonight was not the best quality performance that stars can produce, it was disappointing but I’m not totally disappointed. I think if you play as individuals in this game of netball you are going to lose, hence the result tonight.

Stars continued to fight right until the end of the game in Round 2 against Wasp. Paige Read made a strong return to the game in the final quarter with captain Leota working her magic and splitting the defence. There were many positive that they will take away from the games over the weekend in preparation for their next game in a couple of weeks.

Here’s how the table is currently standing:

Team Bath are next in action on Monday, 22nd February against Wasps (7.15pm centre-pass), in a match being shown live on Sky Sports Arena & Sky Sports YouTube. Severn Stars will be back on 28th February (12.00pm) against current champions Manchester Thunder in a match being shown live on Sky Sports YouTube. With their game after being shown on Sky Sports Arena on the 1st March against Lightning.

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.

In this weeks #wedNEWSday story, we hear from Anna at Wimborne Aquarians, Dorset and how they are keeping up the team morale!

When Boris Johnson announced on 4th January that the country was going into another lockdown, we knew it was going to be tough for our junior players. Having intensely trained in the autumn term for regional qualification, the players were looking forward to the regional leagues starting in the New Year. The Prime Minister’s announcement meant all of our plans were put on hold indefinitely.

We knew that Lockdown 3.0 would be harder than before, because of the dark evenings and winter weather conditions. We wanted to keep our younger players motivated and connected, as well as promoting their physical and mental wellbeing.

Knowing that the girls would be facing a return to online learning, with long periods of screen time and sitting at a desk, we decided to create a 6 Week Lockdown Fitness Challenge. Our aim was to encourage them to get outdoors in the fresh air and to incorporate exercise into their everyday routines.

Each player received a Lockdown Challenge package in the post, which included their own set of Get Fit cards, a booklet outlining the challenge targets and checklists to keep track of their exercise. While some of the challenge targets are prescriptive, such as their weekly online HIIT sessions with their coaches, the overarching theme is for the players to be taking responsibility for their fitness and to be adaptable in their approach. The emphasis is on any physical activity being worthwhile, whether that’s going on a run, a bike ride or walking the dog!

Running alongside the challenge, we have also encouraged the players to supplement their activities by accessing online netball workshops being offered by other providers. Both players and coaches are enjoying the twilight sessions being offered by Hartpury College and are looking forward to the positional workshops being run by Worcester Uni Netball later this month.

We are now over half-way through the challenge, and we have been so impressed with how the players have embraced the whole idea and have committed themselves to their training programmes. The list of physical activities they have undertaken is long and varied from Peloton sessions to yoga. As well as targets set by the coaches, the players have also set their own goals. For example, one of our U14 player’s, Poppy, set herself the challenge of running a marathon in a week, which she achieved despite some inclement weather conditions! We are enormously proud of all the girls.

As we head into the final few weeks of the challenge, we are hoping that it won’t be too long before we will be back together training. We know the biggest thing the girls have missed is the camaraderie of being with their teammates and throwing a ball around on court!

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – Children’s Mental Health Week

Children’s Mental Health Week 2021 (CMHW) is taking place from 1-7 February and England Netball is supporting this important initiative, along with young members of the Netball Family, through sharing a variety of practical and valuable resources.

CMHW was created by children’s mental health charity Place2Be, whose aim is to highlight the importance of mental wellbeing among children and young people. The theme of the week is ‘Express Yourself.’

In support of this week, England Netball are inviting all U11s, families and schools to join us for a free live digital session all about ‘Expressing Yourself’ through netball at 1pm on Friday 5 February. 

The session will be delivered by expert coaches, Georgina Rettey and Eliza Morgan, and will be based around the Bee Netball framework; allowing children to continue learning valuable physical, social and emotional skills.  

Bee Netball supports whole child development and is about friendship, inclusion, fair play – helping develop grit and resilience. It’s not about how good children are, it’s about how hard they try to Bee!

From being a de-stressor to teaching individuals how to deal with setbacks, there’s plenty of evidence that taking part in physical activity can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing. 

The role of physical activity and sport will be crucial in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19 in 2021, with 500,000 young people needing support for mental health problems since the pandemic began (Youth Sport Trust). 

Fran Connolly, CEO of England Netball, said: “We’re proud to support Children’s Mental Health Week. 

“It’s been a challenging year full of change and uncertainty, and research from the Youth Sport Trust shows the impact that this has had on young people’s physical and mental wellbeing. 

“Supporting children through sport, including tailored programmes such as Bee Netball, can help them feel happier and healthier both physically and emotionally. 

“We will continue to be here for the Netball Family throughout the year and look forward to being back out on court together.” 

To sign up for the free live digital session, click here. We’d love to see photos and videos of you taking part shared with us @englandnetball on social media! 

If you can’t wait until Friday or want even more Bee@Home fun, there are six challenges on the England Netball website and YouTube, featuring Vitality Roses Head Coach Jess Thirlby, Tamsin Greenway and Gary Neville, to practise at home. 

A range of creative resources to encourage children (and adults) to share feelings, thoughts and ideas are also available. 

For more information on the week, visit Place2Be’s website

#wedNEWSday – Congratulations Jean and Karen!

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles. 

Back in December, following the trend of the past year, the England Netball Vitality Goalden Globe Awards took place live on Youtube, with more than 750 people tuning in to watch. Netball South West are delighted that 4 volunteers received accolades on the night, Louise Burgan (Teacher Award) Jean Davies & Karen Jones (Honorary Life Member) & Lindsay Impett (Special Recognition).

The big surprises of the night were Jean Davies and Karen Jones becoming Honorary Life Members. This honour is given to individuals who have given exceptional service to England Netball at a National or International level over a period of time. It is recognised that netball volunteers commit many days, months, and years of their life to netball. At a national and international level, England Netball find this dedication and service invaluable. Our two wonderful volunteers that received these awards have gone above and beyond their roles.

Jean Davies:

Jean, a member of Saints Netball Club in Cornwall, is a proud ambassador of the sport who has dedicated her life to high performance netball development. Jean’s knowledge has been gained over many years, in many different roles on numerous committees. Her passion for netball shines through in all she does, especially in her goal of seeing netball in England become number one in the world. Jean has impacted so many individuals in her multiple roles especially as a coach and selector, currently holding the role of the Roses National Academy Selection Chair.

Aside from her national and county roles, Jean has also volunteered as a lead coach in the development of netball in Ethiopia, where she has worked with more than 40 Ethiopian teachers to empower the game in a fun and supportive environment. As an innovator with inspirational leadership skills and with player development focus, Jean is admired and respected by all who know her. Her experience allows her to work alongside Netball South West President Denise May organising the SW U16 & U14 Regional League, providing much-appreciated support to Denise.

On receipt of the Honorary Life Membership, Jean remarked that she is “absolutely thrilled to receive this accolade”. She went on to say that it was “totally unexpected” and that she was “totally shocked and humbled”, expressing thanks to those who nominated her.

Jean is one of those individuals that is unassuming of her own success and continues to give back to netball and provide opportunities to others.

Karen Jones:

Where to start about Karen, she is currently the chair of Netball South West and is an exceptional individual who has provided outstanding services to netball at National, Regional and County level in a variety of roles over the past 30 years. Karen has many years of experience in management/leadership/sport development to ensure discussions and decisions are always strategic and focused to support the direction of Netball South West.

She is passionate about umpiring, being an active A award umpire, tutor, assessor and mentor. She is committed to umpiring, coach education and giving back to grassroots netball for the future. Throughout her umpiring journey, Karen has actively travelled to umpiring around the UK and even further afield.

“Karen is the consummate professional and offers outstanding guidance and support to me in my role as President of Netball South West,” says Denise May MBE. “She gives unstintingly of her time to ensure netball is upheld as a leading sport, offering opportunities for all.”  Karen was very surprised and honoured to receive this well deserved award, and we couldn’t be prouder of her.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

Netball South West Wonderful Wellbeing Month

On Monday 18th January, Netball South West launched the first ‘Wonderful Wellbeing Month’ to its members. This month is designed to provide activities and tip to help our netball family successfully navigate through Lockdown 3.

We understand you are desperately missing netball, and it is great to see how clubs are working together to keep everyone active. Netball South West wants to provide you with not just fitness challenges but ways to support your mental health through this tough time. Over the next month we will be sharing with you:

  • Monday Motivation – fitness activities and challenges that you can do on your own or as part of a team.
  • Time For Yourself Tuesday – ideas and activities to make sure that you take some time for yourself.
  • #WedNEWSday – our long-standing news articles, which share best practice and good news stories from around the region.
  • Press Play Thursday – we have joined forces with some amazing netballers to give you a chance to get to know them and understand what they do with netball.
  • Feel Good Friyay – providing ideas, activities, and exercises to help you feel good as you head into the weekend.

All our activities will be launching daily on our social media challenges so make sure you follow us and get involved at:

Twitter:  @NetballSW

Facebook:  Netball South West

Instagram: Netball SW

If you have any questions, please do not hesistate to contact the Regional Office on Southwest@englandnetball.co.uk

#wedNEWSday – Let’s Stay Connected

Hartpury’s new virtual sessions

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles. 

For this week #wedNEWSday story we spoke to Holly at Hartpury College before the first event (Injury Prevention) in their Community Calendar takes place this evening live on their Instagram page.

Holly said ‘We have our student schedule which currently consists of 3 whole academy technical sessions, 1 yoga session and 1 team session per week. The top University group and top College group both have 2 Strength & Conditioning sessions per week too! Obviously at the moment these are all virtually which is so frustrating but each week the team session is not necessarily technical – e.g., this week the College 1st are reviewing a video analysis game to see if our structures worked, what combinations are better etc. whereas the 4th team are doing a team quiz!’

Hartpury Netball have decided to launch a community calendar in order for the college to keep engaged with the clubs and the new recruits! Normally they would be in College but with the current situation, they wanted to make sure that as a big community establishment, they still reached out!

Holly mentioned that ‘Wednesday 13th will be the first live Instagram at 18.30 where we are doing a preventing injury chat with myself, our physio and S&C. This is to give people an example of warm ups, cool downs and recovery processes. Everyone will be starting up home workouts again and we want to help them best we can prevent getting injured! Next week, Wednesday 20th live via our Instagram at 19.00 is a live Q&A chat with University player and Stars U21 Thalia Letori and College player, Bath u19 and England Roses Academy Lily Jones. They will be having a general chit chat and asking any questions people may want to ask about Hartpury!’

Moving forward, Wednesday 27th is a technical training session which is open to anyone and this time will be via zoom and booked through emailing Holly (holly.duerden@hartpury.ac.uk). This will be being delivered by Nikki Lloyd and on Wednesday 3rd February there will be on the Hartpury Instagram live at 18.00 with a special Super League guest who will be talking about managing diabetes at an elite level. Paige will be on our account and having a chat with our guest! Coming up on Wednesday 10th Feb there will be a video analysis workshop with Holly, Paige and the analysis at Hartpury which will include looking at software, what to look for in a game etc. If you are interested this can be booked in with Holly.

Keep an eye out on the Hartpury Netball Instagram page (Hartpury Netball), looking forward to seeing the sessions.

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – Lets Stay Connected

Randwick raising funds for Sunflower Suicide Support!

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles. 

Due to the lack of netball currently Randwick Netball Club wanted to find a way to stay connected…

Randwick netball club have decided to raise money for an amazing local Gloucestershire charity, Sunflower Suicide support 🌻

As a club, there are 96 members taking part, plus their families covering 2021 miles (walking, cycling, running & swimming!!) within the month of January! Their way of staying connected virtually🥰 the initial target was £100, and within 24 hours this was raised to £600!  The target now stands at £1200.00.

The idea came around as since the start of the first lockdown last March, Randwick’s coaches were providing online challenges (on their Instagram @randwicknetball) for their club members. There was a new challenge each week for club members & their families to partake in & has been very popular. Challenges ranged from ‘5K your way’ to ‘well-being week’ & it was a way of keeping our club ‘together, at a distance’. This ended at the end of lockdown 1 and started again as netball was cancelled in Autumn & similar restrictions were put in place. As the new year came around & netball was again cancelled, Randwick decided it was time for a bigger & better challenge, and a way in which to raise money for an extremely deserving local charity.

The club are staying connected by everyone posting their miles on social media, with kind comments of encouragement from other members. Once this challenge is up, they will be restarting the ‘#RandwickChallenge’ over on their Instagram page, ensuring the challenges range from physical to mental & wellbeing ones, keeping in close contact with our club members & remind them they are always here if they need.

After speaking to Misha from Randwick, she told me that the club have now decided increase their challenge. She said ‘Due to the fact that we have covered 844 miles (by day 5?!?!) we’ve decided to increase our challenge & add a mile for every £1 raised! So our total mile aim is now 3133 miles atm, and as our donations increase so will our miles to cover!’

we can’t wait to see how far you get! If you’d like to donate to the club, the link is:


If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)

#wedNEWSday – 2020, What a Year

Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles. 

Well 2020 what a year
It’s time to spread some festive cheer

We want to thank our netball family
Without you it would’ve been a calamity

You’ve passed a ball in viral vids
Worked out on zoom, adults and kids

Challenges and quizzes to keep in touch
Checking in when things were tough

Volunteers worked behind the scenes
To bring about your on court dreams

Though a rollercoaster of tiers and stages
Netball is back after what feels like ages

We know for some it’s been challenging
It’s amazing how you’ve all been rallying

Clubs and leagues got behind our campaign
To help England Netball #RiseAgain

We want to say you are all wonderful
We hope your Christmas is delightful

Next year as we work together
2021 will be bigger and better

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (southwest@englandnetball.co.uk)