Clarence netballers enduring ’tough’ season with a smile
THE year 2020 has been a difficult one and sport has understandably taken a back seat, but Grafton Netball Association are finding a way to keep a smile on their players faces.
While being able to go ahead with a modified season this year, the prospect of representative competition has been shut down as regional travel restrictions were introduced.
That hasn't stopped GNA from finding a way to further develop the association's representative sides, after president Brooke Burton decided to invite their closest rivals for a day of competition.
"We did have an inter-region carnival planned a few weeks ago and then the COVID regulations restricted us so we had to cancel that," Burton said.
"We asked Lower Clarence (Netball Association) up, they only brought their 12s but we've got all our younger teams (11s, 12s, 13s) having a run. The 13s hadn't even been to a carnival, whereas some of the others had that opportunity before things got really tight.
"In a year of COVID, this is the best we can offer and they're having a great day."
For LCNA 12s star Sophie Bates, playing a representative carnival in such a challenging year wasn't even on her radar.
"This season has been very hectic but really good. I didn't think we'd be getting any representative netball this season so it was a nice surprise to come up here," Bates said.
Burton said it has been a real challenge putting on a season under such uncertainty, but now on the home stretch, it was all worth it.
"There's just two weeks left. It's been trying and it's been hard but I think for the most part people understand we have to put the restrictions in place, even though we're in a safe bubble here," Burton said.
"There's no finals, it's just a first past the post process and some of our competitions are really tight. In a year like this we have done the best we can do by our players and everything else."