Positive response to shorter netball season


North Otago Netball is shaking up its format this year.

The centre will host grading games over a three-week period in May, and the first round-robin match is set to start on May 29. From there, the competition will run through to August, with semifinals on August 14 and finals the following week.

It meant the centre would reduce the season from two rounds to one, North Otago Netball president Sonya Macdonald said.

Feedback from the netball community indicated the previous seasons were too long, and the centre had planned to implement the changes last year, but Covid-19 disrupted plans.

“We just found with people’s commitments, and time frames and fitting everything else in … we were really starting to push our season out longer,” Macdonald said.

Clubs and schools were notified of the changes and the response so far had been positive.

“We’re definitely getting the feel from people that they are open to trying stuff which is really great. Whether we quite get it right this season – not too sure – we got the impression that they’re all on board to try something and see if it’s going to make it better.”

She hoped the season’s changes would would lighten the players’ loads, and help them appreciate the sport.

“We’re all about having fun and playing the sport that we love at the end of the day, but we’re also wanting to work in with those that already have a lot of other sports going on.”

Men’s netball made its debut last year, and and the centre was gauging interest from players to put together a second team this season, she said.

All junior netball would return this year after missing out last year due to Covid. Year 3-8 would start on May 15 and year 1-2 would start the week after.

“We are really looking forward to getting them back involved and getting our Saturday netball going with their wee sessions and development plans coming in to play.”

Summer netball also gets under way on Monday . On Tuesday, 16 teams had registered for the competition.

It was great the netball community were supporting and becoming involved in the summer competition, she said.