Jacks netballers Emma and Natasha Bannister have been instrumental in taking their side to premier division this season.
The mother/daughter duo have previously played in division two sides together, but made their premier netball debut after Jacks Navy’s mid-season promotion.
“I wasn’t really up to playing premier again, so mum said ‘just come play for us, we will just be a fun team,’ and then somehow we ended up playing prems,” Natasha says.
The 19-year-old goal defence played for Stoke in 2017, but made the move to Jacks to play alongside her long-time coach and mentor.
“Since I started netball she’s been my coach, for about ten years, so playing alongside her is pretty cool.”
Emma says that the side put an emphasis on just going out and enjoying the experience.
“The whole team has gone in with the idea of having fun, we know we probably aren’t going to win any games and the last few games have not been close.”
The team don’t train and don’t really warm up.
“We basically just turn up for the game and play, so it’s still a bit of a shock for all the players that we have made prems, for a lot of us it is out first time and will probably the last.”
Emma says, though she may be a bit biased, she believes Natasha has been integral to the team’s dream run.
“Her defence is definitely a big asset, she certainly has kept us in a few games with her defensive work and rebounds.”
Natasha is quick to deflect praise to her mother’s efforts in the opposite circle. “She’s good at reading the ball and her shots are pretty good.”
While Natasha jokes that even though they’re teammates her mum still tells her what to do, Emma says she simply “encourages.”
“I do try and push her because I know her limits, so I know how to get the most out of her.”
Natasha is only back in Nelson temporarily before she heads back to Pasco-Hernando State College in Florida on a volleyball scholarship.
Natasha says the American sporting experience has been “amazing.”
“I love it, it’s a whole different level of game.”
She says she hopes to go on to representing New Zealand in volleyball again and squeeze in a few more games of netball with mum along the way.
Natasha has spent two years in the national set-up, playing for the New Zealand U19’s and the U23 side at just 18-years-old.
Jacks Navy certainly haven’t embarrassed themselves this season, managing to take an 8-7 first quarter lead in their opening game against powerhouses, Prices Pharmacy.
Despite going on to lose the game 42-28, Natasha says it was a big achievement.
“Coming that close to Prices in our first game of prems was pretty cool.”
Emma says, while their time at the top has been enjoyable, most of the team will be looking forward to going back down to second division.
“It’s just a little bit more our pace.”
Ever the competitor, Natasha broke her little finger in the opening minute of their grudge match with club mates Jacks OPD last Thursday night.
“She should be out for a couple of games, but if she’s anything as stubborn as her mother she will be playing this week,” Emma says.
The table topping OPD comfortably claimed club bragging rights, 85-19.