Next weekend’s Geraldine Hodgson tournament marks the beginning of Nelson Netball Centre’s 2016 season.
The majority of clubs had their trials and selected their teams in February so players and coaches will be keen to get their season underway.
And the Geraldine Hodgson Tournament, which is named after Nelson Netball’s lifetime supporter and patroness, provides the perfect start to the season.
It is encouraging to see the increase in numbers of teams entered, from 35 last year to 54 this year.
Senior teams have been split into five grades, along with a collegiate and junior grade – teams will play three pool games on Saturday before going into cross-overs on Sunday.
Six of the eight Premier teams have entered, with only Richmond and Suburban absent. Waimea College A will be keen to test themselves in the elite grade having gained promotion.
Prices Pharmacy A look to be contenders as a top qualifier in one section, while Jacks OPD look likely in the second. A new club has been formed by Marist and their Black team will foot it in the A grade which will provide a challenge for them.
While all teams would like to get their hands on the first piece of silver for the season, most will take the opportunity to test combinations and gel as a team.
While some teams may have had a couple of practice games, only Prices Pharmacy has competed in Netball Mainland’s Super Club competition played in Ashburton and Blenheim over two weekends in March. There will be a break for the school holidays before the season-proper begins.
The Premier grade will begin with a series of shortened games on May 12, with the regular season beginning on May 19. All other grades will have a grading day on May 7 before beginning their competition on May 14.
Grading day is a challenge as there are a phenomenal number of games to be played which pushes umpiring resources to the limit.
Once the day is completed, the grading of the teams is handed to the competition’s committee. It is a huge undertaking as the committee works through results and team rosters to determine grades for the season.
Competitions will be run as an eight-team format, with teams being promoted and relegated at the completion of the round.
There also two exciting representative fixtures to look forward to this season, which will be played in the refurbished Trafalgar Centre. Tactix will play Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic on Sunday May 15 while the main event is the Silver Ferns and Jamaica game on Sunday September 11.
Nelson Netball has also formed a partnership with Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology as their official tertiary provider, and will shortly release details of how to apply for scholarships in 2017.
Nelson Bays Motor Group have again provided Nelson Netball with a car which will be seen about as game development officer, Dayna Whiting delivers programmes throughout the region.
One of Dayna’s main projects has been the planning of the Richmond Mall April school holiday programme for Year 5 – 8.
It’s a great opportunity for players to develop their skills with tuition from top quality coaches. The programme will give players a jump start to their season.
As registrations closed, the programme was a sell-out, with all 100 places taken. The ANZ Future Ferns Festival for the Mainland Zone will be Friday May 13 for Year 1 – 6.
Registration details are on the website www.nelsonnetball.co.nz Nelson Netball are again offering Umpiring for Dummies on Friday from 7pm to 8.30pm. The session was well-supported last year and will be introduced by Anne Blomfield from Manawatu.
It is an opportunity to listen to the new rule changes as well as asking questions.
If playing or umpiring is not your thing there are opportunities to be a fully fledged participant in Nelson Netball’s competitions.
The Game Officials committee will welcome those wishing to train as a bench official.
More court managers are also being sought – it is not an all-day, every week commitment.
Nelson Netball Centre Manager, Chelsea Routhan is keen to hear from anyone willing to go on the court manager roster, which could be as little as once a month.