Morpeth Netball Club celebrates 30th anniversary

Morpeth Netball Club is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month.

By Keith Hamblin
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 1:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 1:43 pm
Members of Morpeth Netball team who are celebrating the club's 30th anniversary this month.
Members of Morpeth Netball team who are celebrating the club's 30th anniversary this month.

And while it may be a time of reflection, members are also looking to the future with the opening of a new leisure centre in the town next year 2023.

A spokesman said: “We will undoubtedly face new challenges of available space and time for training, but this will be overcome with the usual determination to keep the game of netball accessible in the Morpeth area.”

Morpeth Netball Club was established in 1992 following a meeting organised by Linda Cragg, a stalwart of the netball scene in Northumberland at the time. It was aimed at generating interest in establishing a netball club in Morpeth, and was hugely successful finding an untapped need for this growing team sport among the local population.

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Linda ran it initially until it had enough members to take on the running of the club without its original mentor and it has had a base at Riverside Leisure Centre on a Monday evening ever since.

Connie Reardon, a dedicated umpire, is the only member still active from when it launched.

Its current coach, Louise Baxter has been with the club since 1999, initally as an active player. She completed her coaching qualifications in 2004/05 and took over as head coach in 2005.

In 2012 the club started a separate junior section at Chantry Middle School and starts girls as young as 8 up to 16 when they move up to the senior club at Riverside.

Nicola Lewis and Sharon Bowerman are the current level 2 coaches that organise and coordinate these busy sessions and have established a well renowned junior club that feeds girls into the adult club after 16.

The club has a healthy membership of 85 members – 38 in the adult club and 47 in the juniors.

Every season Morpeth enter at least three adult teams into the Northumberland Netball League and the junior club enters between three and five teams into the junior league.

Club chairwoman Emily Renton said: I joined the club in 2012 . It was already thriving club then and I have seen it continue to evolve over the past 10 years.

"The junior section now in full swing and acts as a stepping stone to the senior club, and I’ve seen that pathway develop as the junior club has become established.

"I have no doubt that the club will continue to thrive over the next 30 years bringing girls and ladies together to play and enjoy this fabulous sport.”