Wednesday, July 04, 2007


What a weekend!

Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined that the first ever rep netball team our new little association has sent to State Age would punch above their weight, and come through as Winners of Division 3. It's pretty hard to explain the enormity of it, ... but trust me... it is HUGE. And pretty damned exciting - even if it ruins my 'cred' with my daughter, because I'd given her THE speech (after some tears at one of the lead up carnivals when they lost more then half their games) You know, the speech along the lines of 'It isn't just about winning." I also added: " And you can't expect to win like Cait did with Coffs two years ago.. even that was unbelievable, and Woopi is a small, new association, with an extremely small pool of players to select from. If you win half the games that would be a fantastic achievement... And there will be teams who don't win any games! Anything you win is a bonus!'

*Rasberries to you, then, mum!* (Yep, I'm chewing on those words still! As is Marc who two years ago said how sad it was that Alison wouldn't get the chance to experience the same 'high' as Cait, when Woopi split from Coffs and decided to put in its own rep team. I mean.. what chance did such a tiny association have?!)

So, this competition runs for 3 days - and netball teams in four age divisions (12s, 13s, 14s, 15s) from all over the state play a round robin competition in 3 Divisions, based on the size of their association (and past performance). Championship Division has pretty much just teams from the big metropolitan areas (obviously they have a huge pool of players to select from.) Division 2 and 3 are from the smaller cities and towns. Each division in each age has around 23-25 teams in it, so over the 3 days the girls play over 20 games of netball (each one being 2 x 11 minute halves), pretty much on a one game on, one game off basis. Full on! 50 courts going at once (plus about four indoor ones that the 15s got to play on.

And so winning even Division 3 is pretty big talk for a tiny, new netball association - especially when people would ask "Where is Woolgoolga? I've never heard of it." (Add to that the fact that locally Woolgoolga gets called 'Woopi' - so we call ourselves Woopi Netball - and we were really putting the town on the map and educating people!)

Really, all we hoped was that this team might win half their games. That would have been an achievement. The first day, well... they just kept winning! Wow! The second day they only dropped one, and drew one! By then they were equal leaders, and the pressure was on. They could actually win this if they kept their heads and kept playing well. With a smart coach who had already ensured that she'd fulfilled the 30% rule (each player must get 30% of games) by the end of the second day, she was able to put in her best team against the tougher teams.. The girls held their nerve and only lost one more.. while the team that had been their equal leaders overnight fell apart.

That's my girl with the ball. She plays Centre, which means she gets the run of the whole court except the goal circles.. The coach played her all bar 1 and a half games... Alison is like the Duracell/Energizer Bunny - she just keeps running and running... usually running her counterpart Centre ragged....

To add to the general exhaustion of the weekend, the weather the first two days was bloody freezing - with a chilling wind whipping in from the south-west (ie. snow country!) As spectators we were rugged up with polar fleece tops, fleece lined jackets, beanies, scarves, and we weren't hot! You can imagine how it must have been for the girls - particularly those like ours who are from warmer climates, and with little experience playing in the wind.

And meanwhile, amidst the building excitement with the Woopi 12s, we were walking back and forth to watch Cait's team play in Division 2. She plays for Coffs - the association Woolgoolga split from - who 2 years ago, when she was in the 12s (and with the same coach Ali has now) won Division 3 u/12s! Of course their courts were rarely anywhere near each other, so we did a lot of hiking back and forth - sometimes watching together and swapping courts at half time, and sometimes separating and swapping with each other at half time. Of course they were rostered on the same time slot.. I suppose we can just be thankful that this year Division 2 and 3 were at the same complex.

This is Cait playing WA - Wing Attack. She's a good (not so) little (anymore) mid-court player.. We didn't manage to fluke as many decent shots of her... Their team came a fairly creditable 9th in their division.

Now, given that I am not and have never been a netballer, you won't get much more out of me by way of explanation of it all ('thank god' they say) ... Despite having watched a hell of a lot of netball over the past few years, there's still a lot of the game I don't understand!! Probably never will - I don't have a team sport mind like my husband does. My passion for it is with the passion my daughters have for it, and as long as they are enjoying themselves I am happy. I had Alison hopping up and down the night before they left, saying "I'm excited" - and so she was, all the way through (I kept checking!) despite the blisters, despite the early starts, and the horrible playing conditions the first two days. She's been just itching to be there playing ever since she watched Cait do it 2 years ago. And while winning isn't everything, and I will always remind her of that, it is a very tasty icing indeed!

And, oh, I have more to tell you about our weekend away.. but I have kind of sworn that these few kid free days will be full of housework that won't get undone like it usually does at 3.30 when they traipse in from school. Believe it or not, I have another mountain of washing to do - though the weather is not looking too kind!! Back to my reality...


Wow!! Congrats to the team - and to the parents who schlep them to and from such events!

Huge accomplishments. Again with the Wow.
Congratulations to them both. As a mediocre player, who is a WA by choice, I would've loved that kind of success when I played :) ;)
Yay! That's fantastic!. But now, I want an explanation as to exactly what netball is. Up until seeing the photos I thought it was volleyball, but it looks more like basketball, only with a volleyball ball instead of a basketball ball. Where do I find a description that a sport-ignorant American would understand?
Sorry Rootie, I always wonder if I should keep linking to a reference every time I mention netball!

Wikipedia has a reasonable explanation:
Congratulations! Fantastic win! I love watching netball! Ex-GS and GK here! I have been trying to convince my daughter that it is a sport to take up but she hasn't yet 'seen the light'!

And yes....I know where Woolgoolga is....having once lived in a 'blink' town (you blink and you miss it!) called Woolooga.....who used to regularly get mail readdressed! Lol!
How exciting - Go the under dogs!
I remember the netballing days. I played Centre, but my favourite position was wing defence (WD).
Glad your daughters are so excited about tehir sports, your entire family is really an inspiration to others to get active.
see me smile
Excellent... I don't think that your 'eat my words' comments were too bad either.
Hooray Woopis!
And what a fun post- I wish we had netball here!
That is so wonderful - congratulations to your girls!!!

Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?