On Saturday 12th October, the first Women’s Institute Walking Netball Festival took place in Paignton. The festival saw six WIs from across the South West (Child Okeford, Sturminster Marshall, Wellington, Beaches & Cream, Bridgwater and Chippenham) take part in the round-robin tournament throughout the day playing six games each.
There were 71 women in attendance for the event and it was great to see so many women taking part. Some of the women made a weekend of it by taking up the offer of booking into a hotel package that had been organised by the Devon Netball Development Officer, Jenny Kelly. This meant that they were able to network with other WIs from around the region while having a healthy rivalry on court. They came kitted out ready to support their teams with a mascot (Blimey), pom poms and a song!
The games started without a hitch, with four teams taking to the court to get the festival underway. Alongside the games, there were some netball challenges for all to take part in and a guess the flower competition with some small prizes for the winners. A cream tea lunch was also provided to keep the energy up going into the final round of the games.
Umpires from Devon and the Dorset Netball Development Officer, Karen came to provide the officiating for the event and they proved to be invaluable to the standard and safety of the games. A big thank you for giving up your time to umpire. Jenny (Devon NDO) even managed to get the event on the local radio station (BBC Devon) with Linda from Wellington WI being interviewed about WI, walking netball and the event.
Well done to all teams that took part, the event was a huge success with Child Okeford WI being crowned the winners of the tournament – their mascot Blimey brought the luck with him! The runners-up of the event was another Dorset team called Sturminster Marshall. With only one point between first and second place, it was highly contested. Gaynor from Child Okeford said: “We had such a great day and to come away with the cup was such a surprise and testament to my team’s hard work, modesty and enthusiasm.”
1st Place – Child Okeford WI (Dorset)
2nd Place – Sturminster Marshall (Dorset)
3rd Place – Beaches & Cream WI (Cornwall)
4th Place – Chippenham Lasses 1 (Wiltshire)
5th Place – Bridgwater Firecrackers (Somerset)
6th Place – Wellington WI (Somerset)
7th Place – Chippenham Lasses 2 (Wiltshire)
A massive well done and thank you to the England Netball Staff, Karen Peaty (Dorset NDO), Kerry Brooks (Avon & Wiltshire NDO), Jenny Kelly (Devon NDO), and Laura Woodruff (South West Regional Coordinator) for hosting a great first event for the WIs in the South West. A huge thanks to the England Netball South West team for their help in making the event happen.
To see if there’s a Women’s Institute Walking Netball Festival coming up in your region, click here.