Netball hub opens in Welwyn Hatfield

PUBLISHED: 12:15 26 May 2016 | UPDATED: 12:15 26 May 2016

England Netball regional manager Sarah Beattie, Miranda Herts Mavericks mascot, England Netball director of development Helen Wynn, Herts Mavericks player George Fisher, Tim Braybrooke from Stanborough School

England Netball regional manager Sarah Beattie, Miranda Herts Mavericks mascot, England Netball director of development Helen Wynn, Herts Mavericks player George Fisher, Tim Braybrooke from Stanborough School

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A new £280,000 national outdoor netball centre has opened in Welwyn Garden City.

The Stanborough Netball Centre, at Stanborough School, is a new purpose-built facility of nine netball courts, all individually floodlit, built to national governing body specifications.

Funding came from a variety of local sources, but the three main donations were from England Netball, Sport England and Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

Stanborough School assistant head, Ellen Daplyn, said: “Apart from being a fantastic facility for the school, which will be utilised for a variety of sports, it will also continue to play host to the Welwyn Hatfield Netball League.”

The courts will also become the new Hertfordshire Netball Centre and bookings at county, regional and national levels have already been made with the England Netball Schools finals to be held there in March.

There is a national shortage of similar facilities so the Stanborough Centre will play an important part in not only improving the sporting opportunities for Stanborough students, but also providing a national-standard outdoor facility for players at all levels.

The Hatfield-based Netball Superleague team, Hertfordshire Mavericks, helped open the centre at the weekend with its end-of-season tournament.

Saturday morning saw the courts opened by Mavericks and England player George Fisher, alongside Helen Wynn, England Netball’s director of development, and Tim Braybrook, deputy head of Stanborough School.

Fisher gave a short speech before opening the courts and the tournament got underway.

Saturday played host to the junior tournament with teams competing at U12, U14 and U16 age groups.

The day included a specialist coaching session for the U16 teams with Fisher, fellow player Sophie Carter and Mavericks’ youth coach Sachel Grant.

The eventual winners on day one were U12 Clan Netball Club, U14 MK Netters and U16 Clan Netball Club.

On Sunday the Mavericks team returned to host the Open and Back2Netball competitions.

Both sections were hotly contested on a sunny day with the eventual winners being Berko Belles in the B2N section and Hertford Hornets in the Open category.

Two days later (Tuesday, May 24) saw the official school opening with a ‘celebrity’ staff team including teachers, the site manager and members of Stanborough PE department, past and present, against an all-star student team of Year 11s and 12s. It was a close match with some excellent goals from both the students and staff.

After a tense 40 minutes the game finished 10-10.

The facility will be open to students after half-term after the final surface testing and electrics have been finished.

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