Representative netball is firmly back on the agenda with Cessnock and Kurri Kurri sending strong contingents of junior teams at the state age championships from July 7-9.
Cessnock have won promotion to division three in under-12, under-13 and under-14 after successful campaigns by their under-12 and 13 teams last year.
The under-15s will be competing in division four and will have local pride at stake with Kurri Kurri also fielding an under-15 team in the same division.
Kurri is also sending under-12 and under-13 teams to compete in division four.
Cessnock netball’s Erin Fairlie said the turnaround in Cessnock netball had been amazing over the past four years.
“We have gone from not sending a single representative team to the state age championships four years ago. This year we also sent an open age team to the state titles
“We have a big step up this year with the 12, 13s and 14s all moved up to division three. Our 15s are still down in division four.
“Our 14s have done really well in our lead-up carnivals. They actually ended up in first place at Campbelltown two weeks ago against a host of Sydney teams.
“The 13s pretty much the same and our 12s are obviously a new team this year and they have been going really good as well.
“The under-14s have been promoted after winning the division four title at under-13s last year. The under-13s ended up equal first at under-12s but finished third on a countback, but they’ve still been pushed up.
“The club is going amazingly, we had the highest number of under-12s try out this year, we had 23 under-12s try out for the nine spots.”
Kurri Kurri under-15s coach Jess Stevens said all three teams had been training together since February and were looking forward to doing their best.
“The under-12s are an awesome bunch of kids. They are so enthusiastic and have been so lucky to have Kaye Desmond coaching them. They have learned so much and had so much fun,” Stevens said.
“The under-13s are back after their first year at under-12s and we’re really hopeful they will get some wins on the board this year.
“There are a few new players and they have shown real improvement. They didn’t win a game last year but were just so upbeat each game, coming off smiling and just so happy to be compete.
“The under-15s are starting to show some better form and if they play to their best can be successful.”
The division four titles will be held at Concord and division three is at Meadowbank.