The feeling surrounding Nottingham University netball at the start of this year was clear – things can only get better. A disappointing year last year culminated in the embarrassment of being awarded the wooden spoon at the AU Ball after both the 1st and 2nd teams were relegated from their leagues, as well as losing the Varsity match to a Nottingham Trent side from a lower division.

But far from sitting back and hoping things will improve by themselves, the Netball Committee has been busy putting the changes into motion that they are hoping will make all the difference. Extra training sessions as well as a dedicated weekly fitness session have already seen benefits reaped with four out of the five teams victorious in the opening round of BUCS matches this season. The 5th team have been awarded team of the week after an impressive victory over Birmingham City 2nd team 72-11, while the 3rd team were also notable winners, beating University College Birmingham 3rd team 96-3.

“The general standard of the club is much stronger than last year,” says 3rd, 4th and 5th team Coach Lorna Taylor. “The strength in depth is amazing with both the 3rd and 5th teams unbeaten up to now”.

As well as competing in the BUCS competitions, links have been made with Nottingham High School for Girls for a number of friendly matches to be played throughout the year, an arrangement that will hopefully be equally beneficial to both parties.

Off the pitch, the club has gone from strength to strength after winning Event of the Year at the AU Ball for last year’s netball auction, an event that they are looking to hold again next March. The club is also increasing its philanthropic element, partnering with Breast Cancer Care to raise money for the charity and raise awareness in the community through events reaching out into the local area. An annual fun tournament and a pink tournament are planned as fundraising ideas while a calendar is in the pipeline.

A tour to Calella at the end of the season and the thought of reclaiming the Varsity crown off Trent mean its all systems go on and off the pitch for the netball club.

Ben Bloom and Hanna Flint

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