Former Downham Market High School and Sixth Form student Emma Barnard has been playing netball for more than 20 years. Now a journalist with Archant, having previously worked in the England Netball press office, she plays for Rookies in the East Regional League. This is what netball means to her:
What I love about playing is that it’s super fast and skilful, full of tactics and really physical (a non-contact sport? Think again!).
I have played in local leagues (Wisbech Netball League and West Norfolk Netball League), up to County Premier and Regional and was lucky enough to train with a Superleague team at university – so my experiences have been mainly performance focused – but what the region does particularly well is getting women and girls involved at grassroots level.
Success and media coverage is making netball more popular and visible than ever.
The Vitality Netball Superleague is shown weekly on Sky Sports and England’s fixtures are televised through Sky and the BBC, which is why I think, combined with all the great work put in at grassroots level, more and more people are inspired to pull on their trainers and pick up a netball.
The England Roses are training hard for the Commonwealth Games in a few weeks’ time, and then will be building to the World Cup in Liverpool in 2019.
As it stands, the Roses are third in the world rankings, with the gap between them, New Zealand and Australia closing all the while.
Now, more than ever, is definitely the time to get excited about netball.