The Rodney Netball Centre in Wellsford has enjoyed a spike in teams in its Saturday morning junior competition this season.
An influx of 20 new sides has taken the total count up to 50 teams competing every week.
Rodney Netball Centre president Lucille Martin says it’s a great sign for the centre.
“We have a total of 780 registered players across the board now, which shows just how strong we are this season,” Martin says.
“We have had to adjust our schedule because the extra teams finish at 12.30pm instead of 11am, but there have been no problems with that.”
After taking on the president’s role last year, Martin was pleased to oversee the completion of an upgrade to all six of the centre’s courts, just before this season started.
The upgrade saw them resurfaced along with painted new guide lines for supporters and umpires. The upgrade cost about $90,000.
This year Lynette Gubb has stepped down as vice-president to become a committee member. She is replaced by Kelly Ayres and Karen Platt, who are sharing the role.
Meanwhile, in the senior competition defending champions Otamatea Ex are unbeaten after three preliminary rounds and three competition rounds.
Otamatea Ex captain Maree Stewart says they are focused on defending their title after another strong start.
“Because we have the same squad again we know each other well. The way we link up makes us a strong team,” Stewart says.
But Stewart acknowledges challenges ahead.
“Ruawai has a team back in the competition this year and that will be tough competition. The Rodney College team is shaping up to be strong opposition as well.”
One addition to the Otamatea squad this year is Kaiwaka Sports Awards Junior Sports Person of the Year, Ocean Shadbolt.
“Ocean has really stepped up to the required level as goal keep, but having a new person in defence means we need to really focus on our communication,” Stewart says.
“Our other focus is accuracy to keep the error rate low, but with Taira Ohara’Lambert and Mirna Manuell shooting well again this season, it certainly makes things easier.”