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From Small Acorns...

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

There's a yawning gap in my sporting experience - I've never launched a netball ball in anger or joy; in fact, I've never even held a netball ball! Shock horror! Especially as the game, a derivative of basketball, devised around 1900, is played by over 20 million (mainly in British Commonwealth countries), and is pushing for Olympic status.

I could bridge that gap at West Lothian Netters.

October 2015. Cue a Facebook page, 'Bounce back to Netball', designed to seduce couch potatoes back into sport.

Brushing the soil from her eyes, Julia Simpson, (aged "45 going on 15"), found herself enthused enough by the page content to make some enquiries and then create a tentative page of her own to gauge interest.

Interest? With 55 currently active members since their first centre pass was thrown in January 2016, that's interest with interest! So intense was the level of enthusiasm and application, the club was amongst the first to receive the bronze Scottish Thistle award from the BBN.

Boasting an age range, (min.18) of 20 to 60+, the club meets twice a week. Members proudly rock the club's own badged kit, compete vigorously and joyfully, (sometimes successfully) in tournaments - even hosting their own Festival for West Lothian clubs.

In their Festival, the club displayed an impressive, proactive community spirit by collecting 117 kg of grub for the local food bank - enough for 500 meals!

Julia tells me the group are now like a large extended family, enjoying all manner of activities together, such as meals out, park runs and a stirring victory in the Edinburgh Tattie run would you believe? So appropriate for reformed couch potatoes.

Some of the members are steaming ahead with qualifications to enable them to umpire and coach. The club has certainly gathered powerful momentum in just a couple of years.

The "family" are unanimous in their belief that, in addition to physical benefits, the mental benefits cannot be overstated.

"In the hustle and bustle of modern life, it's so comforting to find a haven two nights a week, where friends are ever ready to listen, empathise and share highs and lows. Spirits are always uplifted."

Mair T: "warm welcome; lots of laughter"

Holly C: "changed my life dramatically"

Isobel L: "inclusive, supportive, fun"

Lauren S: "a huge release"

Emma J: "A godsend"

Dawn A: "Lost weight with laughing"

Susan A: "Pregnant. Missing WLN so badly".

Could netball add a new dimension to your life too? "Bounce back to Netball" has mushroomed so, as well as West Lothian Netters, you can choose Winchburgh Warriors Wester Inch Wonders or Linlithgow Flyers.

And soon Levin's Legionnaires!

West Lothian Netters

Wednesdays 8 pm, Fridays 6 pm; £3 (10% discount loyalty scheme).

New members always welcome!

Winchburgh Warrors

Mondays 7-8.30pm (£4) & Fridays 7-8pm (£3) at Winchburgh Primary School

New members always welcome!

Wester Inch Wonders

Facebook: Wester Inch Wonders Netball. Tuesday nights at Simpson Primary School, Wester Inch, Bathgate. £3 pay and play.

New members always welcome!

Published in Konect November 2018

Author: David Levin


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