YEARS of planning will finally be rewarded when the first matches are played in the Rutland Netball League in January.
Coaching and social matches have already begun at the Catmose Sports Centre in Oakham and Tina Sayers, who has played in the Stamford league since 2006 is excited by the prospect of the county’s own league.
She said: “There are at least four Rutland-based teams playing in the Stamford Netball League on a weekly basis, and while SNL is a fantastic league which offers a great standard of netball, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t offer netball on Rutland’s doorstep.
“The plans to launch a league have been in the pipeline for a number of years, and finally, thanks to the redevelopment of Catmose Campus, we have the facilities with which to go ahead.”
To coincide with the launch of the Rutland Netball League, Tina’s side, the Rutland Panthers (originally launched as the Rutland Belles) will change their name to Catmose Cougars, who will be sponsored Stevenage Leisure which runs the sports centre.
Tina added: “Catmose Sports Centre and Stevenage Leisure Limited have been extremely accommodating and have offered us a great deal financially which will enable us to start-up with very little risk to those of us behind the initiative.”
The league will start in January but Tina is already running “Back to Netball” sessions for anyone interested in playing netball. The sessions are open to anyone age 14 or older regardless of fitness or experience.
Tina said: “The sessions will be fun, friendly and for every woman, no matter what age, shape or fitness level.”
Rutland’s Silver Belles side – a sister-team to the Rutland Belles – have progressed through the Stamford league’s three divisions and is made up predominately of women ranging from university students to grandmothers.
The Back to Netball sessions start at 7pm on Thursdays and cost £2 per person. For details e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tina on 07808 775657.