Netball takes place in the Lent term providing opportunities for all girls to take part in competitive sport, offering 1st to 6th teams at senior level and A-D teams at junior level. Katie Holder, Director of Netball, a regional Hucclecote and Level 3 netball coach, works alongside Assistant Director of Sport, Samantha Lait, to produce an exciting and challenging programme throughout the school.
In the Michaelmas term teams prepare and compete in the County tournaments aiming for Regional qualification. Dean Close regularly qualifies for both the Regional and National competitions and is able to extend the elite performers through its link with Hucclecote Netball Club. Sports Scholars are put on a mentoring programme and receive extra coaching to improve individual skills and overall performance whilst balancing their academic studies. The mentoring sessions include technical, tactical, physical and psychological input to aid and develop growing talent.
Dean Close is fortunate to have both indoor and outdoor courts in the heart of the school. The netball programme includes a whole school training and fixture card as well as individual focus. Tournaments are entered throughout the year to give girls playing experience in varying scenarios to develop their overall performance.
HISTORY OF NETBALL AT DEAN CLOSE
Netball was started at Dean Close in 1974 when the first official VII was formed, captained by Caroline Whalley, just six years after the first girl arrived in 1968. The sport started off strongly, as the 1975 side remained unbeaten, a feat equalled during the 1982 season. By 1976 Dean Close girls were already in the county squad. Netball continued to develop so that by 1984 the School had four teams of VIIs and held its first match against the Old Decanians in 1983. Between 1986-89 the 1st VII won more matches than they lost, and in 1996 the U15 VII, led by Christina Jones, were the first team to win all nine matches, beating in the process the county champions, Pate’s Grammar.
In 2000, the 1st VII reached the finals of the Marlborough Tournament. The season of 2002 showed the vast improvements in netball as the 2nds, 3rds, and 4ths were undefeated whilst the U19 team reached the West Midlands Finals. The 2005 season marked a momentous achievement as the 1st VII won the U19 county championship.
The first netball tour took place in 2007 when 23 sixth formers travelled to Malta, losing only one out of six games. The improvement to netball at Dean Close was highlighted in 2008 when the U16 VII achieved third place in the South West Regional Finals, the best ever placement of a school side.
Much of this success is down to the commitment and encouragement of the coaching staff including Hilary Swan(picured),, Beverley McKellar, Paula Watson, Pip Atkinson, Bridget Edkins, Laura Burton and Hannah Ledger.