State Champs just around the corner!

Excitement is building in the NSW netball community, as we are just days away from the 2013 State Championships! This year celebrates the 45th anniversary of the competition, which will be contested at two venues from Saturday 8 to Monday 10 June.

Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association will host the Opens, 19/U and 17/U age divisions at their courts in Kellyville, while Parramatta Auburn Netball Association will unveil 17 freshly resurfaced courts for the Over 35, Over 40 and Over 45 divisions.

More than 1,350 athletes will play for 133 teams, representing 76 Associations from around the State for a weekend of fun-filled competition, laughs and back-to-back netball!

This year we turn back the clock and shine a light on the history of Netball NSW, and today we take a look back at the history of the State Championships.

The tournament began in 1969 and was first hosted by City of Sydney at Moore Park from 14 to 16 June.  24 Associations participated in the inaugural tournament, with Manly-Warringah claiming both divisions on offer – Open and Cadets.

Fast forward to 1983 and the State Championships was being contested at the Anne Clark Centre from Saturday 11 to Monday 13 June.  That year there were three divisions being contested, with the following Associations named Champions: Open – Randwick; 21/U – Eastwood Ryde; 18/U – Manly-Warringah.

There was a lot happening that weekend 30 years ago; NSW netball legends Karan Smith (nee Bulloch) and Anne Sargeant were representing Australia at the 6th World Netball Championships, being contested in Singapore.  The Aussies defeated New Zealand to claim gold for the fifth time.

On a sad note, while netball fans were waiting for news of Australia’s progress at the World Tournament, news filtered in that the centre’s namesake and patron of Netball NSW, Anne Clark, had passed away on Sunday 12 June.  Over 200 friends would later attend her funeral at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium, and a memorial service held at the centre in September.

NSW netball members also attended the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at the site of the now-Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre, which was beginning construction.  Earlier this year a similar ceremony was held on its front steps with the first ‘turning of the sod’ at our new home, Netball Central, at the NSW Swifts FAN DAY in February.

Over the years there have been many invitational teams who have contested the State Championships, including NSW State Teams and even Papua New Guinea.  This year we welcome Canberra to the tournament, which have entered a 19/U Championship team to participate.  This is the first time Canberra has participated in the tournament and we look forward to what our Capital-cousins bring to the competition!

With so much history surrounding the State Championships from the last 45 years, it is little wonder what this year’s tournament will provide.  Good luck to all players, coaches, umpires, managers, and spectators from all Associations who will be participating this year!