Mahu Ex netball player Corinne Irvine finds the hoop at Wellsford’s Centennial Park.
By Ben Donaldson
Senior netball Rodney
Senior netball at Rodney caters for players from year nine upwards. The seniors play on a Friday night at the six court venue at Centennial Park Wellsford.
The competition consists of two round robins, followed by semis and finals, with six grades running last year and between six and eight teams in each grade.
Teams come from as far south as Puhoi, and as far north as Maungaturoto, with sides from Kaipara Flats, Matakana and Warkworth among others in the draw.
Junior netball Rodney
The Rodney Netball Centre caters for players aged from year one to year eight who compete in two groups.
Year one to five students are placed in a programme called futureFERNS, which was introduced to the area in 2014 by Netball New Zealand.
The new formatting of the junior game has been rolled out over the last three years starting with just years one and two, and now with year fives getting a taste.
Where most sports have modified rules for young players, netball didn’t, Rodney Netball president Lynette Gubb says.
The modified rules include lowered hoop heights, shorter courts and smaller teams to ease the players into the regular game.
It’s this programme that Rodney Netball coordinator Debbie Mason believes has contributed to the rise in youth netball numbers in Rodney with 28 teams now competing in the age group, which last year had 18.
After players finish the futureFERNS programme, they move into a junior section for years six to eight, where matches with standard rules are played on a Saturday morning.
Juniors can also enjoy events during the season with a weekend tournament on May 29 and a dress-up tournament with plenty of prizes on July 9.
Lynette says the netball taster day was very busy and that with the new modified format in the junior game the players seemed to love it.
The Oldfield Shield
Both juniors and seniors compete in the Oldfield Shield competition.
The one-day competition involves four teams representing Kaipara, Hibiscus Coast, Northern Wairoa and Rodney.
They play in age divisions for a combined points total. The competition location used to rotate but due to its central position, the Rodney Netball Centre has become the sole venue for the shield contest.
The Rodney Netball Centre is looking for more umpires to officiate at games, from junior to senior level.
President Lynette Gubb runs a programme called Kiwi Whistlers to train girls year seven to nine on how to officiate a netball game.
They then get to umpire games throughout the season with a more experienced umpire watching over them and giving them advice.