By Robyn Bristow
The Walkie Talkies have a spring in their step.
The Kaikoura Netball Centre’s walking netball team has been awarded an ANZ Netball Grant.
ANZ invites netball clubs and teams nationwide to apply for a grant to help them advance their training and put their best foot forward on game day.
Kaikoura Netball Centre umpire co-ordinator Toni Batey applied on behalf of the Walkie Talkies to help kit out the new walking netball team which includes training and match balls, bibs, spot markers and a gear bag.
Toni says gaining the grant has been a “bit of a boost”.
“It relieves the fundraising pressure and effort needed to get the walkers off the ground,” she says.
Walking netball is a recent rule change to the classic game that removes running and jumping, appealing to those unable to keep up with the fast pace in regular netball.
Toni says she would love to be able to play the senior games, but physically she can’t.
“This group of ladies wouldn’t have been playing any netball a year ago,” says Toni.
“We’ve tried to contact other centres near us to encourage them to make up a team.
“We did a demo game in Culverden and we all laughed so much. There’s good banter, and we’re all very supportive of the other players,” she says.
Toni says club secretary Demelza Sweeny has been the walking team off the ground and will be accompanying the team to the National Masters competition later this year.
“We’re working on our plays and honing our skills.
“We’ve got a group of ladies who haven’t played together before as a team, but we really gel,” says Toni.
Walking netball is totally new and the Walkie Talkieshope there will be other teams formed to compete against.
ANZ head of sponsorship, Sue McGregor, says ANZ is proud to be supporting netball from walking teams like the Walkie Talkies, right up to the ANZ Premiership and Silver Ferns. “We hope this grant helps keep the passion for netball alive in the community for many seasons to come.”