Updated: Oct 26, 2022
At EMMNA, we frequently hear from boys who have not been allowed to play netball after reaching the age of 11. Whilst the landscape is changing, it can still be a challenge to find provision locally. One of the people who contacted us back in November 2021 was 10-year old Brennan. We have been trying to set something up for when he moved up to high school this September to ensure he was still able to play. He shares his story below:
"I first played netball about one year ago, at the beginning of my final year at primary school. That half term, I had ‘High Five’ in P.E. lessons. I really enjoyed it and decided to join the local club in Oswestry. Despite the junior section being mixed, I was the only boy in the club. But I didn’t care. I was still accepted by the other members and became friends with many of them. I was devastated to hear that the group was only mixed for the under-11’s squad, and that at the start of the next year, it was girls-only! For the remainder of the year, my family and I searched and searched for a junior club nearby where I would be able to keep on playing my favourite sport, but there simply wasn’t one.
We wrote to EMMNA, who were really supportive, but initially couldn’t help us find a team locally. However, this Summer when the Nationals rolled around, we were invited to go to Loughborough so we could watch the Finals day, and eagerly accepted the offer. We arrived in time to watch the two semi-finals. This was the first time I got to see elite-level netball played live. It felt surreal, and I had never seen netball played at that speed. It was hard to keep up! Whilst those games were amazing, the highlight of the event for me was what came next. During our break for lunch, we happened to spot the West Cheshire Warriors sitting outside, preparing for their final placing game. Although Chester is not too near to where we live, it’s the closest club that was competing in the tournament. We decided to introduce ourselves to them. Chris Stanford, (the Captain of the team), was immediately very welcoming. He introduced me to the squad, and before I knew it I had been invited to train with them! We then watched them play their final game, which they won - it was brilliant!
The following Tuesday, I showed up to their practice. The next youngest player was three years older than me, but I was welcomed regardless. I was pushed to my limit but I really enjoyed it, and I know that over the next few years I will improve a lot, training with my new team."
Brennan (aged 11)