Netball Queensland hosted thousands of parents, grandparents, spectators, players, volunteers, a drone and even a pig at one of the most successful Challenge Carnival ever staged.
Held at Western Districts Association, 155 teams ranging in age from 12 to 16 years competed over 3 days, but there was much more to this carnival than just netball, including the surprise appearance of Kevin Bacon, the host associations’ unofficial heavy-weight porky mascot.
Liz Shaw, resident ground announcer, who has been involved with Netball Queensland events for the past nine years, said the community spirit, fun and support shown by the teams at Challenge embodies what playing netball is about.
“I think it makes netball different to other sports, the good community spirit and the teams support each other,” Shaw said.
It is especially important for those little teams from out of town who don’t have any support or cheer for them because it is too expensive for their parents and family to come down, so other teams will adopt them.”
“This year Caloundra adopted the Kingaroy 12 years team and followed them around and did a tunnel for them and cheered for them when they played,” Shaw said.
A photographic drone sent up over the ground to capture the scope of the carnival was also a highlight for Netball Queensland’s social media followers.
Shaw said the annual cheer-off, which sees all teams converge in one place to sing their team song, added spirit and a sense of festivity to the end of the carnival.
The ever-popular cheer-off could be heard across Brisbane on Sunday as every Association sounded off with their netball chant.
“You have to have the room and participation and the 12 year olds always get on board really quickly and love it and really get in to,” Shaw said.
“Whoever wants to get up and do their cheer can and it gets bigger than Ben Hur, Kingaroy and Maranoa, two of the smallest associations to attend Challenge received a massive cheer after their chant.”
“It can get a little emotional and this year the parents and kids were crying as it brings a bit a community spirit to the event and we embrace the smaller teams,” Shaw said.
With each of Netball Queensland’s 82 associations allowed to send two teams the 12 years division saw an increase in nominations with 62 teams competing, which just goes to show how popular netball is in this age group.
For players of all ages, the inaugural Netball Queensland Chill-out zone was well received with the beanbags proving very popular and colourful nails were on show in every game over the weekend.
Netball Queensland Sports Development and Participation Manager, Tahnee Norris said the Challenge Carnival is always one of the most popular on the Queensland netball calendar as it gives more players an opportunity to gain experience at a higher level in a fun environment, with over 1400 netballers competing.
“Western Districts put on a great event as the host and put in a lot of time and effort to make this a great tournament with president Barry Morssinkhof leading the charge,” Norris said.
“It was fun carnival with a great atmosphere where all teams enjoyed both the competition on the court and the community spirit and fun away from the court.”
Western Districts Black won 12 year’s division 5, Shailer Park Green took out the 12 years division 1 with Townsville City Blue, 12 years division 6 winners and the D.T Wilson Goal Average Award 465%
Western Districts as the host also took out 15 years division 1 as Western Districts Red over came a hotly contested age group, which came down to the last days result to confirm a winner.
For a full list of results from Challenge Carnival click on this link http://qld.netball.com.au/play-netball/carnivals/ and don’t forget to check out the Netball Queensland Facebook page for all the official carnival photos by Peter Burton from Burton Photography.