1 year ago



FUELLING THE ASPIRATIONS OF If you hadn’t already noticed, Rhondda Netball is big! But despite the incredible progress they’ve seen in the age group structure, Rhondda Netball now has one of the largest senior (16+) squads in South Wales and their vision is to inspire girls and women of all ages to take part in netball and enjoy all the benefits that being involved in sport brings. You’ll find no less than 4 Rhondda Netball senior teams, see logos right, taking part in the participation-focused South Wales Community Netball League most Saturday afternoons, and their Monday night 7-8pm & 8-9pm training sessions at Ysgol Gyfun Cymer Rhondda, are already making them think seriously about adding an extra senior team in somewhere. “We’ve seen passion and determination from the players to develop themselves as players,” said Operations Manager Jody Barnes, “and even though the Rapids and the Rangers are challenging themselves weekly against more experienced opposition, they are learning quickly. The younger players in particular are benefitting from the opportunity to mix with our older players and we’re excited to see how these senior teams gel over the next few seasons. For the Ravens and the Royals, the competition is up a level or two as both teams aspire to be at the top end of the South Wales Community Netball League, with a large part of the Royals squad narrowly missing out on the 2017 title to the Glenwood Giants. But competition aside, the sense of family within our senior set up is awesome and the girls love everything about being involved; the training, the games, the social aspect, and the sense of camaraderie! There’s nothing like seeing our older women who’ve been playing for years making all the younger girls and women feel welcome. In a society where social isolation and loneliness are so prevalent I personally believe that sport is essential for a community in helping its constituents engage with others in the community. The Rhondda Netball senior provision, with a participation age range of 16-55 at present (over 55’s are welcome too!), is helping to address some of these 42

RHONDDA'S NEXT GENERATION challenges and I’m delighted that so many girls and women are involved every week!” But Rhondda Netball is anything but one dimensional, and their multi-faceted approach to developing the sport of netball in Rhondda & RCT, added some real X-Factor to the initiative at the beginning of 2017/18 with the launch of the “Rhondda Rockets”. “Lawrie was really eager to see us establish a senior Rhondda Representative team during 2017/18 to give our performance pathway a focal point,” explained Development Coordinator, Jess Sutton. “Thankfully, the A470 League was looking for a team of a certain standard to fill a vacancy that had opened up in their 1st Division in summer 2017, so we had a great start point! The A470 Committee welcomed the Rhondda Rockets with open arms and we were able to close the loop as it were, on our out-ofschools representative structure. It’s still early days of course, and we have a long way to go until we see the fruit of the netball sea-change Rhondda Netball has pioneered, but the Rockets now provide us with the outlet to motivate all of the players in the representative age group set up. There are a several events planned for the end of the 2017/18 season that will see the Rockets establish themselves as the premier female sports team in Rhondda, and we’re excited to see what the future holds!” It’s great to know that Rhondda Netball is not only making sure that girls and women have the opportunity to take part in netball, it’s also created a vehicle to fuel the aspirations of Rhondda & RCT’s next generation of superstar netballers. Netball Universe has no idea what the future holds for Rhondda Netball on this front, but we’ll definitely be watching this space! 43

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