The Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 has arrived in Liverpool and after England’s win on opening night, day two saw the next generation of talent welcomed to Merseyside for the Junior Clubs Experience.
While the M&S Bank Arena hosts the game’s global stars, next door at the Exhibition Centre girls ranging from U12s to U16s representing netball clubs across the country were treated to several hours of fun activities organised by England Netball.
The teams showcased their ability in the skills zone, engaged in a team-building exercise, practised their defending with former England international Leah Kennedy and learned shooting techniques from current Vitality Roses Sasha and Kadeen Corbin.
And at the end of the afternoon, the girls headed over to the arena to cheer on England against home nations rivals Scotland – as well as enjoying the rest of the day’s Vitality Netball World Cup action.
The youngsters were from Fareham Fireflys, Tyldesley, Ashbourne and Parkside netball clubs respectively but collectively they were divided into four groups to represent England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa throughout the experience.
After an intense warm-up conducted by the British Army, who also ran the team building sessions, the groups were given a chance to sample each activity rotating around the different stations.
The skills zone tested their ability to perform varied passes, shoot accurately under pressure and move at speed with the help of some balloons, which Kennedy also used as she imparted her defensive expertise.
She encouraged a focus on fast footwork and good awareness, with the Corbin sisters delivering a masterclass in shooting at the other end of the court.
But netball requires more than just your physical attributes and inside one of the inflatable pods resembling an igloo that sat in the sports hall, the Army got the girls to demonstrate their cooperative and communicative skills.
Their task was to assemble a tower in 15 minutes from the pieces provided and then push it past a finish line without themselves entering the ‘minefield’ that lay before it, prompting some impressive teamwork and some equally admirable flexibility.
Their knowledge was also tested in The Big Netball Quiz of the Year after lunch and an awards ceremony was held to signal the end of the event before the girls departed to go watch some Vitality Netball World Cup matches.