Courting success at golden celebrations

You could call it '˜throwing' a party. . . For a netball tournament was used as the official unveiling of new courts which were part of a redevelopment programme at Leyland Sports Association.

Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 11:57 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 2:17 pm
Picture by Julian Brown 07/05/17 LSA Excel Rubies (Leyland) Leyland Netball tournament. The courts have recently been part of a redevelopment project and the tournament is part of the official unveiling.

This year celebrates 50 years of the first Leyland Netball team. It was made up of 10 girls and all had to be employees of Leyland Motors Ltd.

The players played on old tennis courts - based where the Lancashire Football Association astroturf is now - and the courts had to be swept each time a match was played due to pot holes and the like.

The Leyland Netball team played other company teams from Blackburn, Preston, Lancashire Police and teams from and the Fylde, county offices, NALGO. The Motors team was more famous for its gala days organised by LMSAC committee for the directors of Leyland Motors for their employees.

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In fact, this was a culture as all industrial companies throughout Great Britain provided leisure facilities - and in some cases health care such as care homes.

With the demise of the major companies over 50 years, the associated social and sports clubs were sold off so that firms could concentrate on their budgets for core business.

Indeed this was the fate also of support to nursing homes and social care after employment ended and supported by different trade unions.

Today’s community tournament is a fund-raising event for 43 clubs throughout Lancashire. Some teams involved many years ago will remember the winners and runners up prizes of pump flasks, torches and flasks etc!

This is when Leyland Motors would ‘fund the bill’.

The original netball team started a league two years later, in 1988, which is now called Leyland Sports Association (LSA).

Currently 110 teams play weekly at Thurston Road, Leyland - that’s is in excess of 1,000 girls. The community association is completely self-funding.

Including any upgrades or new developments, it is the LSA directors’ intention to create an association for mixed gender netball leagues and to develop the LSA facility, as there is an interest from male athletes to enjoy the sport.

Gala day has always been celebrated by a netball tournament since the demise of Leyland DAF.

Leyland Sports Association managing director Sandra Rimmer said: “It was an absolutely wonderful day with great weather and all those involved thoroughly enjoyed themselves

“It was very busy with all the stalls and games, raffles, spin the wheel and we had cakes coming out of our ears.

“The support from the volunteers was phenomenal.”

The association is holding a junior fancy dress tournament this weekend.