No RMNA season, no problem for Jervois' netballers

It's a big commitment to drive to Morphett Vale each week, but it's easier when you're top of the ladder.

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The Jervois Netball Club is used to travelling across the Murray River to play games of netball.

This season, however, they are going a little further than usual.

When the River Murray Netball Association made the difficult decision to cancel its 2020 season in early June it appeared that, like other clubs in the league, Jervois’ women would go without competitive play for the year.

Instead, the club reached out and found associations willing to take them in for the season.

Now finals are beckoning for the club across both of their new competitions.

A seniors team comprised mostly of Jervois’ A grade players, pictured, heads down to Morphett Vale each Wednesday night to compete in the Southern United Netball Association.

That commitment is paying dividends as the seniors team sits undefeated atop the ladder with an eye on a grand final in early September.

An under 13 team which joined a Friday night competition in the Mid Hills Netball Association, pictured below, has had similar success.

The team is currently third on the ladder and positioned well to land a semi-final spot next month.

As a family sporting club, finding new opportunities for netballers that didn’t impact the footballers still playing locally was important, said netball club president Michelle Afford.

“One of the catalysts behind our competition-playing decision-making was the importance to consider our Bluds families, particularly those who were involved with both netball and football,” Ms Afford said.

“We didn’t think it was fair for our football teams and players to (make) families choose between either sport because netball wasn’t an option locally.”

This led the club to find weeknight competitions, and ensure players and families would be happy to make the travel commitment.

“We are super grateful to both Southern United and Mid Hills Netball Association, who’ve embraced our teams in their associations,” Ms Afford said.

The club has also been able to keep netball going for its younger members with cooperation from other clubs.

Jervois has junior members playing socially at Tailem Bend on Friday nights, while prior to the season they played scratch matches against Mannum.

Players and families from other RMNA clubs which were not training have since got involved with Jervois to keep practicing the sport they love.

“As a club we consulted with our committee and coaches - and also discussed with other RMNA clubs - and made the decision to accept other players within maximum numbers allowed due to COVID for our training sessions,” Ms Afford said.

“These additional players and their parents have been grateful for this opportunity and we have appreciated the support some have volunteered to our club.”

Like all sports, COVID restrictions have forced Jervois to make changes to their training to meet requirements.

“Our home courts were not a viable option for us to train all together,” Ms Afford said.

“This was an important consideration for our families who are involved across several teams.”

A new home was found at Christian Reserve, in Murray Bridge, which enabled all teams to train at the same time.

“It was a great spectacle to see everyone out at training that first week with the excitement of the younger players and the seniors who appreciated being out for some exercise and social interaction,” Ms Afford said.

Photos: Michelle Afford.