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NEW NETBALL UNIVERSE

Wales' Biggest Hitters

Wales' Biggest Hitters Following on from the leadership theme in our Editor’s article on Wasps Netball, the Netball Universe research team had the pleasure of spending some time watching and talking to four of Wales’s leading netball clubs, with a particular focus on the key individuals fuelling their success stories. It must also be said, this list could have been much longer! But with the undisputed top table of Welsh club netball being the Cardiff District Netball League’s Premier Division, there were some "big hitters" that didn’t make this particular article... Alison Rogers-Dacey’s Ystrad Mynach in the South East, Paragons in the South West, Merlins in West Wales, and of course Merle Hamilton’s Deeside Netball Club in the North East... to name but a few! Maybe next time!! CTK CTK Netball Club differs slightly from most of Wales’s other netball clubs in that while they are a Cardiff-based team, they don’t really represent any particular area. There’s no doubt this has set them apart from their competition, and it’s probably why they have a kind of franchise-like aura to them that most netball clubs in Wales can’t compete with. They attract players from all over South Wales - some from even further afield - all committed to improving their game in CTK’s renowned development structure. And for the umpteenth year in a row their roster at almost every age group is full, with plenty of players missing out due to the club’s limitations in respect of facilities and time. Wales’s finest young netballers have good reason to seek out a place at the club though, as CTK has arguably more representation in the Welsh age group and senior set-ups than any other club in Wales, with senior internationals Clare Jones, Sarah Llewelyn and Christina Shaw, all CTK Netball Club products. The club is synonymous with success and huge credit must go to Founder, Gill Gildersleeve, off-court driving force Kathy Llewelyn, and their highly-skilled Head Coach, Chrissy Weaver (pictured above), who often has to compensate for losing many key players to the Welsh squads. They've created a unique culture around the club and an exceptional development programme for young players. They are high calibre people, who are committed to giving young girls opportunities to develop as players, and having overseen seven promotions in a row, culminating in winning the Cardiff District Premier Division in 2014/15, they've ensured that CTK’s short history is littered with success. There is certainly a lot the netball world in Wales can learn from CTK Netball Club! Franchise aura! CTK Netball Club, led by Head Coach Chrissy Weaver, pictured above, have produced numerous Welsh international players in recent years. 24

Wales' Biggest Hitters The team to beat! Sian Ruttley in action for Dinas Netball Club as they seek to add yet another Cardiff District Premier Division to their trophy cabinet! their level. But when you have the likes of Eloisee Skinner at Goal Attack and Emma Thomas at Goal Shooter - both have gained Welsh recognition in recent years - you don’t always need a big player pool! However, while they have the luxury of fielding dominant players at the business ends of the court, in Head Coach Sian Ruttley, they have one of Wales’s most successful club netball coaches. Yes, she has a very supportive committee behind the scenes, but her presence is the decisive factor in the Dinas netball winning machine. Her leadership qualities are second to none, and as a coach she possesses the characteristics and the skill-set to make a team superior than just the sum of its parts. The challenge for Dinas Netball Club, as they seek to build a stronger development structure underneath their Premier Division teams, will definitely be to create more coaches like Sian Ruttley! Dinas Every league in sport has its giants, and few would argue that Dinas Netball Club are THE team to beat in South Wales! Given the poor coverage netball gets in the local media compared to male football and rugby, this is a fact that will have passed by anyone who doesn't keep up with club netball in Wales. No club has won more Cardiff District Premier Division titles in the last decade than Dinas, and their best 7, after you discount the Wales & Celtic Dragons squads, are arguably the best group of players in Welsh club netball. This is all the more remarkable when you consider that their development set-up is still in its infancy, meaning that they have had to rely on a much smaller player pool compared to some of the other established clubs at Cowbridge Narrowly missing out on the 2016/17 Cardiff District Premier Division title to Dinas, automatically qualifies Cowbridge as a force to be reckoned with in Welsh club netball. But the nature of their location and the fact that the Swansea Netball League also runs the most prestigious summer senior league in South Wales, means that Cowbridge are able to play in the Cardiff Premier Division in the autumn/winter, and in the Swansea Premier Division in the summer – where they just happen to be the current champions! It means the club, powered by the energy of Head Coach Shaun Williams, who possesses an impressive track record when it comes to identifying top 25

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