“NETBALL isn’t just about netball,” believe Playnetball, an unusual focus for the organisers of an Islington-based netball league. They believe they are in a league of their own, promising to provide the “perfect antidote” to leagues that don’t listen to a word you say and pay no attention to what you actually want.
Playnetball run various leagues – depending on ability – throughout Islington, and you don’t even need to be in a team to join. Should you possess the enthusiasm but lack the team, Playnetball will place you in one.
The view of netball as a “women’s sport” is something that Playnetball are seeking to distance themselves from, explains Emma Collins-Jones, who heads up their business development and marketing.
“Netball is for everyone,” she continues and, of the 120 teams in Islington, 60 are mixed (a mixed team must have between one and three men in a team of seven). “Mixed netball tends to be a bit faster and harder, but the rules are no different,” Collins-Jones explains.
Unlike the UK, countries such as Australia and New Zealand teach netball to both genders at school, and as a result there are a lot more Australian and Kiwi male players than British ones, who Collins-Jones acknowledges “have been coerced into coming usually by their flat-mates”.
As the self-proclaimed “friendliest social netball league in London”, however, this is a trend they are hoping to reverse.