Netball: All you need to know about the thrills and the spills of the local league

Natalie Haythornthwaite England Roses in action during the Vitality Netball International Series match between England Vitality Roses and Australian Diamonds
Natalie Haythornthwaite England Roses in action during the Vitality Netball International Series match between England Vitality Roses and Australian Diamonds
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There is no netball for two weeks.

There has been very little netball since last December, and the legs and arms are feeling it.

The Tuesday night netball team

The Tuesday night netball team

Read more: https://www.lep.co.uk/news/opinion/would-you-dare-take-this-smartphone-addiction-test-1-9425884
Weekly netball is religious, so missing it hurts.

Tuesday in the office is always a hive of activity, deadlines, emails to chase, interviews to plan, ensuring come the end of the day there is a full squad for netball, confirming netball is still on thanks to the winter weather, getting something out of the freezer for tea, ready for a quick turnaround from office to court.

Remembering subs and kit bag. Arriving on time.

It’s full on.

'sore knee' squad and the famous pavlova

'sore knee' squad and the famous pavlova

More importantly than anything, this squad of girls are just the best team of friends you could ask for.

“Here if you need,” is a phrase synonymous with the court but it couldn’t be truer in everyday life.

These girls well and truly always have your back.

It’s pretty much guaranteed the pre-match talk will inevitably be one of us having had a bad day, week even – 60 minutes and a few body slams later, you’ll be all smiles and convinced you have the energy, strength and determination of an endurance athlete, regardless of the result.

However, in this team, no one likes to lose.

There is instant gratification in having achieved something in your day, the letter you didn’t post, the call you forgot to make, work deadline, nothing matters when you’re mid-flight tussling with a girl in an opposing sweaty bib, you decided from behind the lines you will not so much as make pleasant eye contact until the post-match handshake.

Sometime these competitive grudges are season long. There is nothing quite like that 10 seconds of tension waiting for the centre to make the first pass after the umpire blows the starting whistle.

Netball they say is a non-contact sport – unless you have ever had experience of four quarters court side at Preston Sports Arena in the grassroots league.

Girls are rough.

That said, ALWAYS play to the whistle. As a defender, it’s pretty much standard a lot (85%) of decisions will go against you, especially inside the circle

Never so much roll your eyes at an umpire, let alone question a call.

Life on the netball court can sometimes just be unfair, you have to get over it.

Bruised ribs, cuts, scrapes, broken fingers, sprained ankles, the injury list is vast but the one hope, the week is enough to get back out on court.

However, no one can miss a game through suspicious injury these days, a ‘sore knee’ spells instant code for ‘pregnant’ – nothing escapes this 13-person strongfold.

Now more than halfway in securing a future mini squad, we’ve ensured a whole new generation of players.

The love affair for the court began back in primary school and I’m so glad the passion for the sport has transcended into adult life.

Being part of this team is special – in between the tactics and tournaments there’s the important stuff like the next time Jo is making us her famous pavlova.

Occasionally we’ll even let ourselves out, out – believe me we’re safer on court than in the bingo halls. No one likes a false caller. There’s always one in the team.

Roll on spring league.