Men’s sessions new netball initiative

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GROWING INTEREST: Mid Canterbury Netball board member and umpire Kevin Opele will be one of those running the sessions. PHOTO HEATHER MACKENZIE.
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Calling all men – Mid Canterbury Netball has something especially for you.

Facing a huge increase in male interest in netball, the organisation is introducing new sessions, called Men’s Sunday Jam.

The first is this Sunday, 1pm to 2pm at the EA Networks Centre.

Mid Canterbury Netball centre manager Erin Tasker said despite the growing interest, it was too early to launch a men’s competition.

“We’re a wee way off that point,’’ Tasker said.

But the Men’s Sunday Jam sessions would be one-off games.

‘‘You can just turn up, grab a bib and get on court, is a good place to start, and hopefully it’ll help us to really get an idea of what the interest is like out there,” Tasker said.

She said there had been an increase in inquiries from boys wanting to play netball, alongside a ‘‘huge number’’ of men in the annual Formosa Summer League competition.

She said a growth in the men’s game in New Zealand needed to be ‘‘embraced and catered for’’. At the same time it was important for netball centres to protect the experience for the women and girls playing.

“A lot of men are naturally more physical and aerial when it comes to netball, and that can be quite daunting if you’re a smaller, less physical woman sharing the netball court with them,” she said.

Currently boys can play in the Mid Canterbury Netball winter competition up until the age of

14. This year there’s four boys in the senior youth competition on a Saturday afternoon. This was up from one, who was the first, in 2023.

Men’s Sunday Jam is free, and players will get put into teams on the day. As it’s all about the men, the event will also be run by men – local umpires Heath Lyttle and Kevin Opele, who is also a Mid Canterbury Netball board member.

Tasker said Mid Canterbury Netball planned to make the event monthly during the netball season. It would invite some Canterbury players for a game later in the season if the monthly events were successful.

  • * Men’s Sunday Jam, Sunday, 1pm to 2pm. Players can either register their interest prior, by filling out the form found on the Mid Canterbury Netball website, or turn up on the day. For more information contact Mid Canterbury Netball centre manager Erin Tasker on 0273084688.