Midwest Gascoyne Netball Region
Western Australia was divided up in to the 11 city and country regions in 1992. A forward thinking WA Netball board, against heavy opposition from mostly city Associations, decided to spread the power base of Netball over the whole state.
The first meeting of interested people in this Region was held in Geraldton in 1992 with personnel from WA Netball. At this meeting, a Constitution was tabled and we were advised of our Regional Colours. Unbeknown to those attending that first meeting, the Constitution brought up by the WA Netball personnel, was a copy of one being used by the Darling Range Region and these were their colours. It wasn’t until the first Regional Carnival that the mistake was realised. A little late then, as both Regions had purchased new uniforms, exactly the same colour.
A Regional committee wasn’t elected until 1994. A lot of the early organisation was done by volunteers as with most new committees. Visiting umpires and coaches stayed with Regional committee members but it was worth it to see the player improvement.
Up until 1994, the visiting coaching and umpiring personnel from WA Netball was limited. Most of the courses were run in Perth and it meant a drive to Perth to get any coaching accreditation or umpiring badges. Once the Regional Committees were set up throughout the State and WA Netball started having twice yearly conferences and listening to country members, coaching and umpiring courses were run right throughout the State. This in turn improved the quality of coaches and umpires who in turn imparted the knowledge on to our athletes.
Although the format of the State competition was different in 1992, interested persons at the first meeting expressed a desire to put a Midwest team in the then Super League. After many meetings and budget planning, 2003 saw the first team from the Midwest compete in State League. This was largely due to our then Regional Development Officer, Miranda Rounsevell’s dedication and insistence. Those in that first Pilot team in 2003 will remember the lovely (not) uniforms in the Geraldton colours of blue and gold. We chose the blue and gold so the uniforms could be used by Geraldton if the program didn’t work. We didn’t want to waste the uniforms.
In 2005, the Midwest Regional 17 and under team won the State League Premiership. Much to the disgust of the City Regions, the two teams playing in that Grandfinal were from the country. Midwest Tigers and Wheatbelt Flames. Unfortunately, the following years, Netball WA decided to change the age of this competition to 19 and under. This put all the Country Regions at a disadvantage, owing to the loss of athletes to University at 18. Never-the-less, we have made a commitment to our Academy athletes to provide a pathway and we will continue to field in whatever age group we are able.
Again, in 2010 Netball WA have changed the structure of the Smarter Than Smoking State Netball League. This season sees the re-introduction of 2 Open Divisions – Smarter Than Smoking State Netball League and Smarter Than Smoking State Netball League Reserves. They have also rebadged the 19U’s to the Smarter Than Smoking 18U Netball Cup.
With many new rules governing the competition this year, athletes will have to work hard and prove themselves worthy to make the travelling teams.
Sport and recreation clubs build stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities.