NETBALL: Raychem to play it again for charity
5:30am Wednesday 4th June 2014 in By Tom Bassam, Chief sports writer
RAYCHEM Netball Club are hosting the second, of what they hope will become an annual charity netball tournament on Saturday.
Last year’s Squire’s Tournament was very well received, so organiser Kelly Rowe decided to try and repeat the success.
This year they will be raising money to buy a portable life support system for Bristol Children’s Hospital.
The hospital treated Maisie Gibbins, a former player for Marlborough Juniors, a Raychem sister club, who sadly died from a ruptured brain aneurysm last October.
The tournament has grown to 21 entires this year, with group games in the morning and trophy and plate leagues in the afternoon.
Punctuating the competition will be an exhibition game with England’s men taking on women’s National Premier League side Hucclecote.
The unique match-up will be umpired by Gary Burgess, a top UK official.
Rowe says the exhibtion match should be a compelling affair, due to the different way the men play the game, and could engage men and women who haven’t played the sport before.
“The men’s team features, Iain Root, who is head coach of Raychem Netball Club, it’s always entertaining to see how men approach netball, if people haven’t seen men play netball they approach it very differently,” she said.
“It’s great as women, men and youngsters will all come along, we see it as a an opportunity for the them get into netball.
“They’re playing a team called Hucclecote, a high standard team who our regional women’s team play, though it’s an exhibtion game the men will be very competive, we’re just hoping that Gary can keep it under control.”
“In Swindon there’s not many tournaments that run in the summer anymore, I can see this now being a permanent fixture in the Swindon netball calendar.”
Last year England’s men saw off the challenge of a Swindon select team but such was the demand to play in the main tournament this year, the organisers plumped for an outsider to allow more local entries.
Rowe herself will be playing in the tournament for the official Raychem team and despite the relaxed nature of the day, is expecting there to be a fierce competitive streak in the tournament.
She said: “We’re just going along to all to enjoy it last year’s winners Scared Hitless are back, and a few other Swindon teams are pretending not to be taking it too seriously but they will be.”
The tournament takes place at Dorcan Recreation Centre, with the exhibtion match in the Netball Dome.
Doors open at 10am and there will be a barbeque and refreshments available throughout the day, plus a raffle.