Each week we bring you a good news story from across the South West as part of our wedNEWSday articles.
Can you believe the Netball World Cup was a year ago? The South West Team headed up to work at the fan park and what an amazing experience it was, we reminisced about it today. We caught up with two fans who travelled from Cornwall and Devon retrospectively to take in the Netball World Cup.
My memories of NWC 2019 – By Lucy Higgins, Cornwall NDO.
‘It started on April 13 2018. I was added to a Whatsapp group, ‘NWC Liverpool 2019’ with some of my teammates from my old netball club in London (shout-out to Blackheath Wanderers!) and one of my best friends from my hometown club (Penzance Netball Club), who I’d played with since the age of six. Almost three months before tickets went on sale, we were prepped and ready to start saving and planning for our first Netball World Cup together. A plan was formed, Doodles were made, broadband speed was tested, and by the time ticket-buying day rolled around, we had a team of people… it was like Glastonbury but more exciting, with more netball puns and with arguably much more at stake! By 10.01am, we had 24 tickets for nine of us, spanning play-offs, the semi-final and the final. The stage was set.
A year and approximately 45,239 Whatsapp messages later, and we all arrived in Liverpool. Immediately, the atmosphere was electric. I’d previously lived in the city and knew how well Liverpool could put on a show, and it didn’t disappoint! I’d been lucky enough to be living in Sydney in 2015 so had been to the final of the NWC, watching Australia beat New Zealand. But the Netball World Cup in Liverpool was like nothing I have ever experienced.
Our first night together, we sat in the lounge of our Airbnb, excitedly talking about the next day’s games. I knew some of the girls really well, had a met a couple of others, and some I’d never met before, but that’s the beauty of netball – it’s a great leveller and brings people together seamlessly. By the end of the evening, we were firm friends, and by the end of the weekend we were bound together, having ridden the crushing low of the England v NZ semi-final and the impressive, awe-inspiring and thoroughly entertaining highs of the bronze medal match against South Africa. Some of my highlights included being dressed as Roses (of course!), and hearing the crowd shouting ‘We want Dunn!’ – hearing the roar when she came on court was like almost nothing I’ve heard before, reminiscent only of the crowds at the London Olympics.
For me, the Netball World Cup was a celebration of all my very favourite things about netball. It brought together people from all over the world, who had one common interest. It was like being at a festival, where everyone likes the same thing as you, and the atmosphere is full of anticipation, excitement and respect for the beautiful game. One amazing thing about the NWC was being able to actually see the players! Meeting Sam Wallace (star GS for Trinidad & Tobago and NSW Swifts, and a personal favourite player of mine) in Primark really stood out for me. The players weren’t hidden away backstage or in a VIP area like they would be at a festival – they were out and about, making the most of their trip to Liverpool, chatting to fans, shopping, getting coffees, and giving us all little ‘pinch myself’ moments. Like I said, netball is a great leveller.
I saw the excitement of young girls at their first international match who had well and truly got the netball bug. I saw die-hard stalwarts of the game in tears with joy or sadness, so wrapped up in the emotions of each pass. I saw people dancing, high-fiving, cheering and celebrating, happy just to be surrounded by other like-minded people. I bumped into women I’d played with at clubs in Cardiff and Liverpool, all bound together by the love of the sport. I chatted to people from all over the world, having a really in-depth chat with an Aussie woman straight after the final about the positional changes. We were all netball nerds and, for 10 days, we were in paradise.
And the Whatsapp group? It’s been renamed NWC Capetown 2023, and the saving, planning and excitement has already begun’
As we look back at memories from the Netball World Cup 2019, Jenny Kelly Devon NDO recounts her 470 mile round trip to watch the England Semi Final.
‘Thinking back to this time last year, I had a great 3 days with the South West team working at the Fan Park. Although exhausting it was great fun speaking to people, giving information about netball sessions, facilitating game play on the portable court and welcoming national teams for their fan park signings.
I hadn’t been able to get any match tickets in the run up to the event so I was really excited when news came up of some tickets available for the Semi Final between England and New Zealand! I jumped at the chance to go, I just had one small problem my daughter was all the way down in Devon. So I finished work in Liverpool on the Thursday and travelled back to the South West with the rest of the team. Friday after Sian finished school for the day we headed back up the motorway finally arriving back in Liverpool around 11pm ready for the match on Saturday. I’ll never forget I had scheduled a radio interview with my local BBC station on the Saturday morning and I was outside the England Roses hotel, on the phone, live on the radio when the Roses left to head to the arena. The screaming and cheering was deafening but it really got across how excited all the England fans were.
It was fantastic to be in the arena, the atmosphere was electric and the game so nail-biting. We had a fabulous time even though the Roses lost it was great to have been there and well worth the hours of driving. We loved it so much we headed to Nottingham earlier this year to watch the rematch at the nations cup.
I truly loved every part of being involved with the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, as staff , adhoc reporter and fan!’
If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to Laura Woodruff (email@example.com)