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Strong squad .. Athletic Junior Netball Club players at the club's prize giving last Friday. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

An explosion in player numbers is paying dividends for the Athletic Junior Netball Club.

From having two teams and a total of 17 players in 2015, the club now has nine teams and more than 70 players competing in the recently completed North Otago junior netball competition.

In addition to its huge growth, the club is also having success on the court.

On finals day, five of the club’s teams played in finals of the top four grades.

Athletic Gold was the only team to win its final, 25-4 over another Athletic team in the form of Athletic Zinc.

Club co-ordinator Deidre Senior said the nature of the club’s evolution in a short space of time had been amazing.

“It’s been the rapid growth that’s surprised us. In 2015 we had two teams and this year we had nine.

“There were more teams in the finals than actually existed two years ago. I just think it’s down to the commitment of the club. We’ve got a number of senior players or ex-senior players who are our coaches, so they’re people who know netball and have played a lot of netball. They’re not just somebody who’s doing it because they feel they have to, they’re doing it because they love the game. The support network within the club’s pretty strong for players and coaches.”

While she believed the club may was close to a “saturation point” in terms of playing numbers, the club was still open to those who wanted to play.

Senior said being the “only club in town” meant it was the first choice for many that wanted to play the sport.

“We have a central base for people so we’ve got girls who are playing for us from country and town primary schools who have chosen, for a variety of reasons, to come and play for us.

“The fact we’re tied to the Athletic club helps. A number of our girls that come from town schools have associations with the Athletic club through either dads or brothers that play rugby, or mums playing with the netball club.”

Since 2015 the club had raised more than $8500 for uniforms for its players, which cost about $110 each.