Club Column: Netball

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Each fortnight, SCAN brings you an exclusive inside peek at one of our fantastic sports clubs. Read about what they get up to, and get the latest on how they are representing Lancaster in competitive sport around the country.

This issue, SCAN interviewed 2nds captain Polly Iddon, to find out all about the Lancaster University Netball Club.

This year started off fantastically for the club, with 6 fresher’s added to the club, all of whom had previous experience playing at regional and county level prior to university. This is great for the club, who are one of only a handful of clubs to have 3 full teams competing in BUCS competitions and leagues. This year also saw the club ran by a fresh new exec team, led by the experienced first team captain Sally Shacklady for the second year running, and new members Polly Iddon and Emily McHugh elected as captains of the Second and Thirds respectively.

As well as the new exec and the new members, coach Abby Pridmore also returned for another year, and this had a positive influence on the players, with Polly stating that that she has ‘excellent coaching qualifications’ and is always striving to ensure the girls are achieving their best and becoming better players. Polly states that the relationship with Abby is two-way, with Abby supporting each and every girl on the court, and in turn the players respect and value Abby’s guidance.

Another method of player recruitment is for some players to make a transition from college level, with a college select side chosen to represent Lancaster at Roses. This side is made of players who played at college level throughout the year, and if these players impress there is chance for them to be taken on.

In September, before the start of the season, the club were put through a gruelling boot camp, led by Abby and Sally, designed to increase fitness and skill. Polly states that this session was intense, but rewarding as it ensured all the players were up to the desired fitness levels come the start of the season. This boot camp was repeated again over Christmas, again ensuring that the players were fit enough for the second part of the season. Polly says that these new training sessions were extremely beneficial, reflected by the fact that the first team got to the quarter finals of the Northern Conference Cup for the first time in years!

SCAN also asked Polly for an update as to how each of the teams performed in their respective competitions this season. The first team got off to a dreadful start, losing key players Jordan Balazs and Ella Loveridge to long term injuries. However, they didn’t let this affect them, and under the stewardship of Sally Shacklady, the team came out fighting and finished in an impressive 4th place in their BUCS league 2A. This, combined with the impressive cup run, represents a highly impressive and successful season for the first team.

Polly was delighted to express that the second team, which she captained, finished 1st in the BUCS league 4A, and a result will compete in the league 3A next September! This is a fantastic achievement, as the club were relegated over two years ago, so Polly feels like they are back where they belong. The season was even more impressive by the fact that they had the best goal difference in the league, and only lost two games all season. Polly states that team spirit and togetherness, as well as the return of 3rd year students, Heather Watson and Maddy McGlynn, were behind this heroic season, as well as reiterating the closeness of the girls.

The third team, led by Emily McHugh, were hit hard by injury this season, however showed determination and resilience top carry out and spent a large part of the season in 3rd place, well in the promotion race from league 6A. Polly states that the goal difference was good for the third team, crediting Issy Holmes and Laura Timm for their consistent performances. Unfortunately, the promotion push didn’t quite get over the line and the team finished 3rd in the league. Polly states this will have given them great confidence to go again next season.

In terms of Roses, not only did LUNC Firsts, Seconds and Thirds play, there was also college level games, with the league winners from the A’s and B’s playing, as well as college select. This means that in total, 6 netball games were on offer at Roses.

Polly told SCAN about the performance of LUNC, stating that there was almost another ‘redwash’ this year, however the seconds lost their game. The third team won their match 22-17, and Polly credits Simone Hutchinson for having the best game of her life! The second team were unfortunate in their 61-41 defeat, in which Lancaster were struck by the loss of Maddy McGlynn through injury early in the second quarter. Polly is quickly to state that this has not overshadowed their terrific year. The first team won their game 57-36, meaning that LUNC first team currently have the longest reigning unbeaten record for winning at Roses out of all the University teams and clubs!

Polly says all the girls are determined to make it a ‘redwash’ on home soil, or gravel rather, next season.

In terms of the social structure of the club, Polly says all the girls are like a close-knit family and are regularly meeting up outside of netball, and are quite often seen on socials in sugar on Wednesdays. Polly finishes by saying she has been incredibly proud to a part of a historic season for LUNC, and has enjoyed watching the club go from strength to strength this season. Furthermore, she says all the foundations are in place for this club to continue to thrive and be successful for many years to come.

If you are interested in either joining the club, tracking their progress, or for general enquires, find LUNC on all social media sites.

If you would like to see your club featured here, email scan.sports@lusu.co.uk, or contact either Bethany Crow or George Hamlyn on Facebook.