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Netball ‘air dome’ under discussion

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A NEW home for netball could be created by building an air dome at a secondary school, the Economic Development Minister has said.

Picture:DAVID FERGUSON. (24249309)

The Jersey Netball Association has to move out of Les Ormes, where the sport has been played since 2010, next year and needs to find a long-term dedicated match and training facility capable of catering for everything from weekly league fixtures to youth coaching and Team Jets matches.

Jersey Sport chief executive Catriona McAllister has previously agreed that a new permanent home for netball is ‘vital’ to the future of the sport in Jersey and said that the body was working with the JNA to find a solution.

This week in a written States question, Economic Development Minister Lyndon Farnham said his department was working with the JNA and Jersey Sport on the issue ‘as a matter of urgency’.

And the minister, who had been asked about his support for netball by Deputy Rob Ward, revealed that two options were being looked at.

One is to provide a temporary sports hall for netball until the sport could be catered for in a new Island Sports Hub currently being considered but a number of years away and the second is to build a new standalone and permanent netball centre using a sports air dome product, similar to that used at the Caesarean Tennis Club.

He added that the second option could be built at an existing secondary school and have the added benefit of being a ‘valuable resource’ for the school.

‘Without a dedicated facility, it is highly likely that the extensive and inclusive netball programme delivered at present would be substantially reduced because the depth of competition would no longer be available,’ he said.

‘As a result, all parties recognise that there is a need to address the requirement for netball facilities as a matter of urgency if the largest participation sport for women in Jersey is not to be negatively impacted.’

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The minister added that the two options would be explored ‘in detail’ as part of the second phase of the Island’s sports facilities strategy.

‘This review is already under way and establishing a worked-through solution for netball will be a priority of this work,’ he said. ‘We continue to communicate with the JNA on a regular basis and will consider any option that could provide netball with a dedicated home.’

In January, fresh from leading the England Roses to victory over world champions Australia, Jersey netballer Serena Guthrie called for the sport to become professional and for a permanent home for netball in the Island.

She said that sports such as rugby, football and cricket all had a place to train ‘any time they like’ and Jersey’s netballers deserved the same kind of stable facility.

Lucy Stephenson

By Lucy Stephenson
author

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