Flying high after 20 years

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The uniforms and hairstyles may have changed over the years but the Ipswich Flyers success has remained unwavering giving young Ipswich netballers something to aspire too.

Strong and ready to fly, the Flyers did just that when players past and present celebrated 20 years of hitting the courts wearing the green dress at the annual awards night, attended by the original 1994 Flyers team.

Ipswich President, Gail Lyne, said the night was about celebrating the continued success of the Associations flagship team with nine of the inaugural 1994 Flyers team attending.

“It was a great night, we got the 1994 team up to present gifts to the current championship winning 2014 team,” Lyne said.

“I was pretty proud and it was fabulous! The 1994 team were so happy to be there and everyone could see how far we had come through the ages, even with the uniforms which were actually really hip back then.”

Back in 1993 Lyne, the Flyers founder and inaugural coach, recognised a need for the Associations players to step up to a higher graded competition and in 1994 this became a reality with the Flyers heading to Chandler to take part in their first State League game… and they won!

This was just the beginning with the Flyers putting Ipswich on the Netball Queensland map.

The Flyers most recent success saw the open team do what they do best, digging deep to take out the 2014 Mount Franklin Challenge and claim their third Queensland title win in four years on the 20th anniversary of the Flyers.

The Flyers won in 2009, 2011, and 2012 and were runners up in 2010 and Lyne said out of the 20 years in the competition the Flyers have placed in 15 of those years.

Lyne said the secret to the Flyers success has been the team unity and a proud Association that is very community and family based, which she hopes to see continue on for another 20 years.

“We are really proud that the flyers get involved in all aspects of the organisation and we show them off every chance we get to the community,” Lyne said.

“They do a lot of things out in the community, even back then when we first started but more so now, the Flyers are involved in the Ipswich community and help raise money for kids charities with organisations like the PCYC.”

The Flyers have celebrated much success over these 20 years, both on and off the court.

None more so than mother and daughter duo, the Flyers longest serving coach, Tricia McInally and daughter, Flyers co-captain Emilie McInally, who sum up the values of the team.

Emily was awarded the most capped Flyers player while Tricia was the inaugural member of the ‘Fly of the Mortals’ hall of fame, inducted for her long service to the Flyers.

Tricia, who was recognised by the Ipswich City Council for her 30 years of giving to Ipswich Netball in 2011, said her family has been involved in Ipswich netball since the grass courts were first used at Salisbury Road, with Tricia remembering even her Dad getting out and helping.

“Mum coached, umpired and played and was on the management committee as well for many years, Dad even had to line the courts and mow the grass,” McInally said.

“The reward for volunteering was seeing young players develop and enjoy themselves and the lifelong friendships you make along the way.”

Anyone who is involved with a successful sporting organisation knows the people behind the scenes contribute to the on-court accolades and Ipswich are a shinning light when it comes to running an Association.

Ipswich Netball Association has a long list of awards and achievements by both the team and it’s volunteers.

  • Ipswich Netball Association – Ipswich City Council Club of the Year 2013.
  • Gail Lyne was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award – Ipswich City Council Awards 2012.
  • Tricia McInally, Inaugural Flyers team, longest serving Flyers coach and life member – Ipswich City Council Volunteer of the Year 2011.
  • Ipswich Flyers Team of the Year – Ipswich City Council Awards 2011.
  • Deborah Vandenberg, Sports Official of the Year – Ipswich City Council Awards 2010.

Over the last 20 years the Ipswich Flyers have seen roles change, players have become coaches, managers and many players have taken the next step in their netball career.