Netball fans flocked to the West/Central West region over the weekend to catch some hot on-court action at the 2014 HeartKids Cup, held at Orange PCYC.
The brainchild of Netball NSW Regional Coordinator Mardi Aplin, the tournament has grown from one exhibition match in 2012 to 12 teams contesting for the trophy this year.
2013 Inter-Regional Champions Orange hosted 2013 Netball NSW DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup Preliminary Finalists’ Baulkham Hills and Illawarra, the 17/U, 19/U and 21/U ACT State Teams, as well as ACT State League sides Canberra and Tuggeranong.
The heat was both on and off the court with the players sweating it out in mid-30 degree heat, but they put on a show for fans that had travelled from around the Orange area to see some great netball.
Baulkham Hills took out the 2014 title, defeating ACT 21/U side 32-27 in the Grand Final; however there were plenty of close games throughout the weekend that went down to the final whistle.
Budding young netballers were also given an opportunity to learn from their home heroes and visiting netball stars, with the teams hosting a netball clinic on Saturday afternoon. The participants, aged between 5 and 15 years old, enjoyed a variety of activities and drills, all while having fun!
Originally beginning as an opportunity to test the Orange Division 1 talent against a DOOLEYS State League Waratah Cup side, Aplin said she can’t believe the heights the HeartKids Cup has reached in three short years.
“This began as a humble idea to put on a pre-season exhibition match, to give our country Association the opportunity to watch, learn and be exposed to high quality players and coaches,” Aplin said.
“This weekend we saw 12 teams contesting the tournament; it was a fantastic success and I’ve had lots of positive feedback from all the teams. They all want to hold their places in the competition for next year, and some want to bring even more teams, which is amazing.”
“Since the HeartKids Cup began we have also seen some of our country players join Sydney Associations to play DOOLEYS State League, and also travel down to Canberra to contest in the ACT State League competition.”
“I’m very proud of what we have achieved. The HeartKids Cup is combining my love of netball with that of my family, as my son is a HeartKid and the support the foundation gives to families is fantastic. The more awareness we can create around children’s heart disease the closer we can get to giving more families, like mine, support,” Aplin concluded.
There isn’t long until the 2014 DOOLEYS State League competition gets underway, with Waratah Cup starting Wednesday 19 March and Divisions 2-8 starting from Saturday 5 April.
DOOLEYS State League team entries close 5pm next Friday 14 February; for more information visit the DOOLEYS State League webpage.