TEAM EFFORT: Laidley netball club duty official Terry Baker-Bull, president Kaylee Ilka and vice-president Cindy Hoare at the courts.
TEAM EFFORT: Laidley netball club duty official Terry Baker-Bull, president Kaylee Ilka and vice-president Cindy Hoare at the courts. Meg Bolton

New prospects for netballers of all abilities in the region

NETBALL: Women shooting hoops, passing, catching and yelling "here if you need” has been a staple in Laidley for the past few decades and it's only getting more popular.

While interest in netball in the town has decreased in the last few years, in 2019, the Laidley and Districts Netball Association has a new lease on life.

The club has entered an additional representative team this year and has 205 players registered.

President Kaylee Ilka said this year was the first step in expanding the club, as well as the sport in Laidley.

"I want to grow netball in the community,” Ilka said.

Two under-11/12 teams and one under-13/14 team have been entered into the Darling Downs Netball Region competition.

The sides will play against teams from as far away as Goondiwindi and Roma.

Ilka said next year she would have enough numbers for four teams.

In addition to more representative teams, Laidley also has more teams playing in the weekly competition.

On a Thursday afternoon, netball teams pack the Laidley netball courts, with the juniors starting after school and seniors playing well into the night.

This season the club also has a mixed competition and at least two junior male players.

Ilka said involving the whole community was good for the sport.

Later on in the year, Ilka is planning on hosting Laidley's first social netball carnival for all ages.

The competition will allow anyone from the community to enter as a team.

"I really want to bring something here for the whole community, it brings more money to the town, they have to stay here and eat so pubs benefit, I think the community needs it,” she said

Ilka said the concept was based on the Netball Australia NetFest carnival, which invited people of all ages and abilities to play a weekend netball competition.

The carnival would be a first for the region and was the main goal of the Laidley netball club.

- Meg Bolton


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