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Netballers unite

IT was a thriving hotbed of community spirit when the South East Suns Netball Association hosted its annual Intraclub Gala Day, bringing together club members and the local community for a day of fun, activities and sport.

Held on 1 March at Pembroke Park, the Gala Day event featured a range of activities and netball games across all teams – both club and social – as well as marked the official start of the 2020 season.

Now running into its sixth season, South East Suns Netball Association president Marsha Batchelor said the club had steadily grown over the past six years and now boasted 25 teams and approximately 500 members.

“I campaigned for 10 years to Sorell Council about needing netball courts in our community and now we have four great courts and have grown from six to 25 teams,” she said.

“There is a lot of interest in this sport and the great thing for me is to actually see kids out there playing that wouldn’t normally have played netball if we didn’t have courts here in Sorell.”

Ms Batchelor said the Intraclub Gala Day was a great way for everyone in the club community to get together and meet each other.

“We play against each other in shortened games, the Lions Club runs a barbecue and we have ice cream and coffee vans,” she said.

“It’s purely just a day for everyone to get together, meet different players in their team, get to know everyone and launch our new season.

“We also had a donation tin being passed around and we will be donating all the money to the Kangaroo Island Netball Association – Kingscote Netball Club, which lost a lot of resources during the recent bushfires.”

Labor Leader Rebecca White, who was in attendance at the event, said the South East Suns Netball Association should be proud of its achievements both on and off the court.

“The club has an inclusive culture that has seen membership swell and is a terrific demonstration of a community sports club that is working hard to grow participation and promote netball,” she said.

“Congratulations and best of luck to all athletes, volunteers, umpires and the association on a successful season and thank you for inviting me to join you in celebrating your outstanding achievements.”

Ms Batchelor, who was a recipient of the 2019 Australia Post One Netball Community Award, said community members didn’t have to play to get involved in netball.

“There’s a lot of other little things you can do,” she said.

“I think getting involved in a club is a good thing for people’s mental health and wellbeing, as it gives them another interest and something to work for and achieve.

“From a playing standpoint, netball also gives children an opportunity to learn to play a team sport – it teaches the kids to be resilient, but also happy to play in and for a team.

“It also gives the younger players the opportunity to learn to be a leader and manage different situations.

“I would encourage people to come and give it a go because you just never know what you might get out of it.”

The South East Suns Netball Association currently runs club, social, after-hours and mixed rosters, as well as a number of programs for young players.

The club is currently looking to continue improving its facilities and is fundraising for the installation of netting along the back fence as a wind block.

Caption: South East Suns Netball Association president Marsha Batchelor on the netball courts at Pembroke Park.