Andrews’ delight as netball nears long-awaited return

JERSEY Netball Association president Linda Andrews is delighted that netball will resume play on the Island next week, after months of frustration.

First walking netball tournament held by Jersey Netball Association. Includes teams from UK and Guernsey. Hotshot Pinks (Jersey A) v Blue Swans. Shaida Azziz. . Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30343528)
First walking netball tournament held by Jersey Netball Association. Includes teams from UK and Guernsey. Hotshot Pinks (Jersey A) v Blue Swans. Shaida Azziz. . Picture: JON GUEGAN. (30343528)

Following the easing of gathering restrictions, Team Jets will be back training from Saturday 13 March on the outdoor courts at Oakfield, while the popular walking netball programme will restart the next day. However, regular league netball will not be able to resume under current restrictions.

Despite the welcome news for Team Jets, any preparations for getting back to competition remains on hold.

‘It’s been really hard for the girls because you can put on as many Zoom strength and conditioning sessions as you like but it’s not the same as throwing a ball and being in each others company four-times a week, it’s pretty tough,’ said Andrews. ‘But to know that next week we’re going to back again is just wonderful.’

Like all associations, Andrews is waiting to hear from Jersey Sport’s latest discussions with government and public health to know when restrictions on sport will be further eased and has found it difficult to comprehend why the Island didn’t follow the UK in allowing sport to return before the hospitality and retail sectors.

‘It’s been tough to find out the reasons why we have been pushed back. It just seems a wee bit odd that we are one of the later ones to get going again,’ she said.

‘We hope to get the local programme back to normality as soon as the numbers [of allowed persons gathering] go up. Because we are limited to 35, we can only really have one game going on at any one time and the league would take forever,’ Andrews added. ‘But as soon as things are lifted, we will be looking to put the full programme out and get it moving.’

In the meantime, Andrews has been buoyed by the positive response from the women who take part in the weekly walking netball sessions that will resume on 14 March at Oakfield.

‘We’ve got a group of about 20 ladies who come every week. They finish every session with tea and cake and they have just been missing it madly. For some, it’s their only active outlet really. They just love it. It’s a real feelgood factor; loads of laughter and lots of shenanigans.’

Many of the women who take part have taken to posting upbeat messages on JNA’s social media. One lady called Suzanne wrote: ‘I miss the friendships we have all developed, being a part of a wonderful netball family who ladies attend week after week all year round. I miss our chats during playing and after with tea and cake. I miss seeing the look on the ladies’ faces when they have achieved something they never thought they would, like scoring a goal or cracking a routine. I miss the laughter and the smiles,’ while Lesley added: ‘Love the game, the people, the friends I have made. The laughs, the encouragement, the sense of achievement, the mental and physical benefits. Can’t wait to play again.’

To find out more information about joining walking netball, email: lindamay.andrews@gmail.com

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