The first adult netball league in the Borders kicked off in style making good use of the new facilities at Peebles High School.
Inspired by the huge interest in netball at the Commonwealth Games and organised and promoted by Peebles Netball, the league was designed to reach out to adults who may have played netball decades previously, with the forementioned club providing refresher sessions over the summer to help women regain confidence to return to the court and form teams.
No fewer than 80 ladies took part in the inaugural event and nerves were clearly evident as one by one, they arrived to play what, for some, was their first competitive match since primary school.
Adding to their apprehension was the large numbers of spectators, family, friends and children, for whom the tables were turned, and mum for once was the one needing cheered from the sideline.
The evening ensued in the spirit of huge support and respect for the mix of ages and experience on court, and as match after match progressed it became clear that something special was happening.
Organiser Linda Nicholson told The Southern: “The new league fitted the bill for women for a huge range of reasons.
“Ultimately, though, it is a new venture to create a much-needed pathway in the Borders from junior to adult netball in order to provide opportunities for the growing number of talented teenage netballers emerging from the junior clubs.”
Fair play awards added to the occasion, with learning off-court also promoted as new umpires were mentored through matches and new captains got to grips with scoresheets and match statistics. A cake-stall organised by the Under-15 Border District team provided much-needed refreshment.
Peebles Netball senior and Under-17 squads played the first match, which went to form with the seniors taking the spoils 56-16.
Then followed two matches which had been difficult to call before the evening, the newly-formed Hotshots coming out on top (31-18) against Lauderdale Ladies and the Peebles-based Under-15 Borders squad creating a 37-16 upset over Team Tank.
The final match saw the formidable Dragons take on the least experienced Jets, and although the win was resounding for the Dragons, the Jets, boasting several local teachers, battled to the end and pledged to return.
The next league night takes place this Sunday from 4-9pm at Peebles High School.
Enquiries about the league should be made to Linda Nicholson at Crowwood@tiscali.co.uk