Regional netball fans received an early taste of on-court action this season with five teams contesting the HeartKids Cup in Orange over the weekend.
Following last year’s Exhibition Match between hosts Orange Netball Association’s GrainCorp Regional State League – West/Central West team and Baulkham Hills’ DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup team in the Cup’s inaugural year, the two sides were joined by three new teams in 2013; the NSW Men’s Netball team and Canberra Netball Association’s State League Division One and Division Two teams.
The men’s side – who used the Cup as part of their preparations for the Australian Men`s & Mixed Netball Championships in late March – finished the weekend undefeated to claim the honours.
Event organiser and Orange Head Coach Mardi Alpin was thrilled the competition had doubled in size compared to last year.
“It was fantastic that we could add more teams to contest the HeartKids Cup, and I can’t thank them enough for making the journey out to Orange,” Alpin said.
“We had a great crowd come and support the whole concept – with visitors joining us from Dubbo and Parkes – to watch some really competitive netball on show.”
Keen young netballers had a chance to get involved in the action, with Orange and Baulkham Hills hosting a netball clinic for over 140 children on the first day. Alpin said it was great to see some many youngsters having fun out on the courts.
“The kids were brilliant … they were put into groups and rotated around different skill stations, including goal shooting, passing, and defending… everyone seemed to be having a great time,” commented Alpin.
With the weekend done and dusted, Alpin is already planning on an even bigger HeartKids Cup in 2014.
“We managed to raise more than $2,000 for HeartKids, which is an incredible effort and I can’t thank our community enough. I’m hoping to expand the competition and bring even more teams to Orange next year – watch this space!”