South West Highlights 2023

Posted December 27, 2023 by Poppy O'Reilly

This week we are doing an around the region special for our final WedNEWSday story of 2023. Each county Netball Development Officer has picked their counties top 3 highlights for the year and what a fantastic year it has been with lots of WOW moments happening around the region.

Avon WOW moments:

  • Avon Mixed Netball Festival: Twelve teams competed on Sunday 3rd September to be crowned the winners of the first Bristol based mixed netball festival run by England Netball. We had glorious sunshine the whole day which made for a great atmosphere and perfect conditions to be playing wonderful netball.
  • The Trainer Exchange: Kat Oldfield, Avon Committee Secretary, launched The Trainer Exchange; a kit exchange initiative designed to enable players, both adults and children, to participate in netball safely and to the best of their ability.
  • Avon's umpires: 40 umpires have gained new qualifications in 2023!

Cornwall WOW moments:

  • New Walking Netball League created – one of the very first in the world!! September 2023 saw the introduction of a new Walking Netball League here in Cornwall. Bringing together teams from all over the county, fixtures are well underway with teams playing each other on a home and away basis.
  • Summer Netball Now sessions in partnership with Falmouth NC & Penzance NC: Another successful summer partnering with Falmouth NC and Penzance NC to provide pay & play opportunities for over 100 players to continue to take to court during the summer through their Netball Now sessions! Big thank you to both clubs!
  • Netball Youth Camps: Another year of fabulous Netball Youth Camps! 54 junior players bringing a really collaborative, friendly and brilliant attitude, with particular passion towards umpiring, scoring and timing during the tournaments! Huge thanks to all of the Community Coaches involved in the delivery of these events!

Devon WOW moments:

  • East Devon One Awards success: East Devon nominees won several of the SW awards in 2023 including Donna Hawkins – Coach Children and Young People, Jennifer Henwood- Community Official of the Year, Dart NC - Club of the Year, Maria Dorothy- Pioneer of the Year , Sally King- Unsung Hero, County Chair Jan Howard was awarded a Long Service Award and Denise Ellis was awarded Honorary Life Membership.
  • Plymouth Pilgrims and St Pauls School Bee Netball Project: Plymouth Pilgrims NC signed up to be a trailblazer and identified a venue, a local primary school in a deprived area of Plymouth, who wanted to host the session. Granted Active Devon Opening School Facility funding to cover children on free school meals cost of the Bee Membership package and some extra equipment for the school.
  • East Devon's Working as ONE: Congratulations to East Devon County Netball Association who have successfully completed their Tier 1 governance review and submitted their 2-year county plan. Well done for all the hard work and dedication from the volunteers on the county board.

Dorset WOW moments:

  • Netball Dorset Performance Pathway: Since the return to netball in 2021, the Performance Pathway in Dorset has rebuilt and nurtured our players with potential. In 2023 the programme contained more Strength and Conditioning and match play and links between the first 3 steps on the England Netball Pathway were strengthened (U13 academies, County Academy and Team Bath Athlete Development Centre). We are now seeing the results of this work with more regional age group teams and more players progressing into the franchise pathways. For the 2023 School Games, an amazing 7 players out of the 12 strong Team Bath squad came through the Netball Dorset Performance Pathway with many more continuing to progress through the U17, U19 and U21 franchise age group squads.
  • Vets Netball: In February 2023, Netball Dorset and Dorset NDO organised a Vets Netball tournament for players over 40 years of age. With 8 teams entering and over 70 participants, it was a noisy and fun event with plenty of competition. The winners, Bournemouth, took the top place ahead of Hot Nanas, on a goal difference of only 2 goals. The average age of the players in the tournament, across all the teams, was 55 with the team that came second having an average age above 60! This successful initiative has now been taken up by other counties for 2024 and Netball SW are hosting a final for the winners of the tournaments across the SW.
  • Walking Netball: Ashley Heath WI began in May 2023 and over 55 ladies have now participated and each week there are over 20 attendees with many ladies in their late 70s/early 80s. Most have not played netball since school and came along for their first session out of curiosity, yet they are now hooked, and netball Tuesdays have become the highlight of the week. With 3 Walking Netball Hosts now trained up, this group is all set up for the future.

Gloucestershire WOW Moments:

  • Walking Netball Festival: In July, Gloucestershire hosted the NSW Walking Netball Festival at our home venue, Plock Court. We had 12 teams compete, a lot of Netball World Cup excitement brewing and ITV news in attendance which resulted in 2.5 minutes of prime-time netball coverage!
  • Super GCNA: Despite one of Gloucestershire’s home venues closing very unexpectedly at the end of September, the phenomenal GCNA management committee ensured no league or regional netball was missed – rehoming multiple matches and fixtures in record time to ensure the county continued to play their favourite game.
  • National ONE Awards: Barbara Warburton was awarded the England Netball Long Service Award this year. Barb started volunteering on the Gloucestershire County committee in 1987!

Jersey WOW moments:

  • National ONE Awards: Linda Andrews was awarded the National Coach of the Year (Adults) award at this year’s National ONE Awards, having won the regional award alongside the Heather Crouch Award!
  • Super Jersey: We are proud to be the biggest women's sport on the island with over 800 players participating weekly in our sport!
  • Island Games 2023: Jersey competed in the first “Island Invitational Netball Games” event this November in the Isle of Man, competing against 6 other teams and 2 male teams (Isle of Man, Jersey, Guernsey, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, Yns Mon, Guernsey men, Isle of Man Men). The tournament a huge success with Jersey finishing 2nd overall.  

Somerset WOW moments:

  • One Awards: 2 fantastic volunteers represented at this year’s One Awards – Hollie Wright, who won the regional Outstanding Contribution of the Year award and Alisha Gardener, who won both the regional and national Young Volunteer of the Year award!
  • Bee NYC: Under 11 Netball Youth Camps are back! EN ran a successful October half term camp for those aged 9-11 at Strode College, Street.  It was a fantastic day full of laughs, learning new skills, forming new friendships and of course lots of playing netball!! Following the success of this camp we are running another, 14th February 24 at Westfield Academy, Yeovil. For more information, please check our session finder England Netball | Play Netball.
  • Somerset County Junior Netball Tournament: In May this year, in partnership with Somerset County Netball and Kings College we held a County Junior Netball tournament with 4 U16 teams and 10 U14 teams representing their clubs and schools. It was a great day for all involved, highlighted by a visit from Jada Pechova England Rose and Team Bath. Following its success we will be looking to offer this as an opportunity for junior competition in 2024.

Wiltshire WOW moments:

  • Trailblazing Women’s Health Festival: Raising £18,000 for three very worth charities in addition to raising so much awareness for female health.
  • National One Awards: Wiltshire County Netball Association received the Special Recognition Award at the National ONE Awards for their pioneering Women’s Health Festival.
  • Netball Youth Camps: 4 NYC’s were delivered this year in Wiltshire, engaging both members and non-members during the school holidays!

Regional WOW moments:

  • NSW Game Conference: Netball South West hosted it's first Game Conference in over 6 years, where coaches and officials came together for a day of practical and theory sessions followed by a Q&A with industry experts.
  • Walking Netball Host Collective Day: We welcomed over 30 NSW Walking Netball Hosts to Wellington to take part in our first ever Host Collective Day
  • Tier 1 Governance: Netball South West were the first region to be fully compliant with Tier 1 Code for Sports Governance

If you have a good news story that you would like to share please send your story and a picture to the South West Regional Officer ( Something exciting happening where you are? Don’t forgot to use #netballsw.

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