SHARE
Brick wall ... Athletic wing defence Blayze Rooney defends against Waitaki Girls' High School Wildfire centre Hannah Johnston during a North Otago premier club netball game earlier this season. Photo: Carol Edwards

The North Otago Netball Association believes a new indoor sports facility is essential for Oamaru if the sport is to thrive in the district.

A feasibility study, funded by the Waitaki District Council and carried out by Sport Otago, has identified three possible sites for an indoor facility.

Two are at Centennial Park, one behind the grandstand and another that would incorporate the Excelsior Sports Club rooms. The latter was considered in the report to be the “optimum” site.

The third site was at Awamoa Park.

Club netball is presently played on concrete courts in Taward St, next to the St Kevin’s College girls hostel.

North Otago Netball Association president Donna Hurst said there were several reasons why an indoor facility would benefit the sport locally.

They included games not being cancelled due to wet weather, the ability to host representative and secondary school tournaments, and player welfare.

She said an indoor facility with sprung wooden floors meant less stress on players’ bodies, which would result in fewer injuries and increased player longevity.

“It has been noticeable at tournaments we’ve been to in the past, especially at senior high school age when they’re going to South Island secondary schools tournaments.

“The difference between the players at the end of the tournament .. they’ve been able to play on sprung floors, as opposed to the injuries that have occurred on outdoor courts.

“Overall, I think people would play a bit longer because they don’t suffer the injuries early on and it keeps them playing for longer.”

An indoor facility would also allow the association to host more Netball New Zealand and Netball South programmes, she said.

While Mrs Hurst had not read the full report, she believed Centennial Park was the most suitable location for a new indoor facility.

“It certainly seems like a sensible option .. to be able to share facilities.

“When we initially talked with Sport Otago, we gave our suggestions. We had an indication that the St Kevin’s girls’ hostel may have been coming up for sale in the future, which from netball’s perspective would’ve been ideal because we still would have had the outdoor netball courts, or had some outdoor netball courts, and the indoor facilities as well.

“From netball’s perspective, that would have been the absolute ideal location. Obviously, where they have proposed is also a good option because it’s so convenient.”

The retention of outdoor courts was necessary if courts were unavailable at an indoor facility, she said.

However, indoor netball would come at a greater financial cost.

“A facility would be fantastic, but it’s going to be a financial cost to players because using an indoor facility is going to cost more.”