Netballers take to the court as season begins

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Passing moment. . . Gore High A goal keep Esther Gardyne,15, looks for a team mate to pass the ball to in a preseason game against Ex High Black at the MLT Event Centre stadium on Saturday. PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Eastern Southland Netball’s 2022 season got under way with a pre-season day in Gore on Saturday.

Two weeks of grading games will follow.

Publicity officer Anne Reid said 52 teams were entered in the competition, two down on last year’s number.

“[It’s] great to see a new team entered, Te Tipua, who have entered a combined school team,” she said.

Both Gore High A and St Peter’s A had new coaches.

“Justine Goatley has taken on Gore High A .

“Gary Breen and Donna Wilkins are in charge of St Peter’s A.”

The committee welcomed Belinda Knapp as the new president and Toni Grumball as the newest member on the committee.

All last year’s sponsors were back on board.

While there were no restrictions on numbers allowed in the stadium, masks needed to be worn when entering and exiting the MLT Event Centre.

Players, coaches, managers and officials could remove masks when courtside if desired.

Spectators were encouraged to wear masks at all times.

An information session was held in the stadium meeting room.

Round 1 starts on May 21 and finals day is on August 14.

Knapp said that after the past two years’ seasons having been affected by Covid-19, she was hoping there would be no interruptions.

“We’re really looking forward to having everybody courtside again.”

There were exciting development opportunities coming up for school-age players, Knapp said.

An under-18 team would attend a national tournament in Christchurch later in the season.