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Walking netball helps people to reignite their passion for the sport

PUBLISHED: 11:00 25 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:40 25 February 2018

The team of walking netball enthusiasts ready to play at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The team of walking netball enthusiasts ready to play at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

It’s a chance to dust off those trainers, get back onto court and play the sport you love at a slightly slower pace.

The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

And that’s exactly what the 20 or so members of the Gorleston walking netball group have been doing, although for some remembering to walk instead of run has been a little harder than anticipated.

The sessions, open to people from Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft, Beccles and beyond, are designed to offer a way back into netball for those who were forced to stop playing competitively due to an injury, or perhaps decided to hand in their bib as they got a little older.

There are now eight walking netball sessions offered throughout Norfolk, with 22-year-old Libby Gates behind the group that meets every Saturday morning at Gorleston’s Lynn Grove Academy.

Miss Gates, who plays, coaches and umpires netball matches, initially led a one-off session in Beccles last year to gauge the interest, and now offers the chance to train and play each week.

The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

She said: “It’s aimed at those who are over 50 who used to play netball to give them a way back into it and also those who are looking for something new to try. There’s a good social side to it too.

“It’s been going really well, the ladies all love it and I really enjoy running it.

“Some of the ladies have struggled with the new rules, especially not being able to jump which is difficult for the defenders, but they are all getting the hang of it.

“We’ve got a walking netball tournament coming up soon which we have entered a team in too, so that will give them the chance to play competitively.”

The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Clare King, 49, from Oulton Broad, stopped playing netball after needing a knee replacement.

She said: “It’s difficult not to run and jump when you’ve been used to playing that way for years, but it’s really good fun and we are all getting used to it.

“It’s a really friendly group and I think the social side brings a lot of people out as well.”

Anyone interested in joining is welcome to pop along to the Lynn Grove session, which runs from 10am to 11am each Saturday.

The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Rules of walking netball

There are four main differences in the rules for walking netball to how the sport is normally played.

1/ You are only allowed to walk, no running is allowed.

2/ Players must have one foot in contact with the court at all times, so no jumping to intercept the ball.

The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

3/ You are allowed one extra second with the ball, meaning a player has four seconds to release it instead of the usual three.

4/ An extra step may be taken once a player has received the ball, which reduces the impact on landing and improves the momentum of the game.

Teams still consist of seven players - goal shooter, goal attack, wing attack, centre, wing defence, goal defence and goal keeper.

And players defending the ball must still stand at least 3ft away from their opponent, with a penalty pass awarded if you obstruct your player.

The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY The first walking netball sessions get under way for a team of enthusiasts playing at Gorleston. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Where to play

Walking Netball sessions are currently being run at eight venues across Norfolk, with plans in the pipeline for more locations in the future.

• City College, Norwich, Monday from 6pm to 7pm.

• Watton Sports Centre, Tuesday from 1.15pm to 2.15pm.

• Norwich Tennis and Squash Club, Wednesday from 10am to 11am.

• Stalham Sports Centre, Wednesday from 6.15pm to 7.15pm.

• Erpingham MUGA, Friday from 10.30am to 11.30am.

• Wensum Lodge Sports Centre, Friday from 2.30pm to 3.30pm.

• Lynn Grove Academy, Saturday from 10am to 11am.

• Thorpe St Andrew High School, Sunday from 11am to noon.

For more information visit www.norfolkcountynetball.com

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