NATIONWIDE Netball Club are certainly striking while the iron’s hot.
Netball is the country’s fastest-growing sport. Sport England recently agreed to pump £25.3million into the game, a 35 per cent increase on the netball’s previous allocation.
Sky Sports regularly show the English Netball Superleague and international matches.
This year the sport will rise further into the public view when the netball competition kicks off at the Commmonwealth Games in Glasgow.
It’s timely then that Swindon & District League club Nationwide decided to merge with other local club Park before the start of the winter season.
The two clubs combined to produce five teams, with two of those in the top division.
Kathryn Sell, captain of the club’s A side, believes the increased exposure has definetly been a boost to her sport and the club.
“Netball being on a TV more has been a big factor in the increased interest,” said Sell. “We’ve had quite a lot of people joining who left the sport at 16 and wanted to get playing again, either into clubs or through local Back To Netball groups.”
As the name suggests Nationwide started as a works team for the locally-based building society.
Though over time and through relaxed joining rules the club has grown out of the office and into an increasingly strong force.
This season Sell’s team have been the form side in Division One.
In winning 12 of their 13 games they have racked up more than 730 goals, bettering the next highest scorers by over 50 and racking up a goal difference of an eye-watering 291.
Sell wouldn’t stretch to saying that her side were favourites, settling for a more modest appraisal.
“I think we’re definite contenders, we’ve been able to strengthen the squad, we had had a girl coming back from America and one who came from Park in defence.”
Sell was also reluctant to single out any indivual for this season’s improved form, prefering to praise her team as a whole.
“Most of the A team has been together for three seasons now, this season there’s been a real belief we can do well and the results have motivated us to keep going for it.”
The promotion of Abbey Meads into the regional league has opened up District Division 1 and given club’s like Nationwide a hope winning it.
Unlike some of the bigger clubs in the District League, Nationwide do not currently have any sort of youth setup.
Whilst there are no immediate plans to get one started up, the club do have a few qualified level one and two coaches on their books and it is something they could be open to in the future.
They currently have a number of young players as young as 16 and are open to any players who are over the league’s minimum age of coming along to training to try out.
With the current buoyant climate in the sport you wouldn’t bet against Nationwide growing as a club as the year progresses.