Netball is not very popular in England, well at least not as popular as I’m used to it being in NZ. It just doesn’t get the media coverage here. The international series’ are not shown on free TV and the mainstream newspapers just don’t pick it up.
This is part of a much bigger issue, the lack of coverage for women in the sports media in general. It’s an issue I feel passionately about, particularly as someone who plays and values watching a sport that the main stream media largely ignores. Hello Sports Media, share the love already! According to the Women in Sport Foundation only 7% of UK sports media coverage features women. 7%?!? Seriously! That is sad. I’m starting to think I need to go big on this issue and do more than just tweet my disapproval from the comfort of my couch. Any ideas on this, please let me know.
Ok, rant over.What this all adds up to is that I have to be a very engaged netball fan over here, if I want to know what’s going on. So, one rainy afternoon, frustrated at not being able to see any Netball World Cup matches on TV, I frantically loaded up my social network feeds with all things netball to keep up with the results. Eventually I did beg a Sky subscription off a friend, but even then didn’t see much due to the odd times they were telivised. Sigh!
But as a bonus, all my social feeds now keep me informed about upcoming tournaments and news on all things netball. It’s brilliant! In amongst my Instagram staples of food porn and travel pics I get ANZ championship results and netball action shots. Check these Instagram accounts if you’re interested: @england.netball; @silverfernsnz; @irenevandyk; @anzchampionship; @mariatutaia
After disappointment in learning that the Silver Ferns are not touring England or anywhere near, any time soon, I jumped at the chance to see Australia play England in London instead. After all, if I can’t see the best, I will happily settle for second best (<– teehee Aussie dig).
A few of my lovely team mates joined me and we settled in for some sweet as international netball. This was the second match in the series and England were coming off a close loss in the first meet up. I was excited to see a tight match between the teams. ^^ International match bonus – national anthems! I always love a bit of pomp and ceremony to start off my sports matches, even if it’s not God Defend New Zealand. Both teams started strong, we were barely able to keep up. I kept trying to concentrate on the defence players, as that is where I play for my team and I wanted to pick up some sweet skills. The pace was so fast though, I felt like I was following the ball in a tennis match at times. The girls carried it from one end to the other at lightning speed. In the end though Australia’s slight upper hand in the first two quarters turned into domination in the second two as the English team battled to sink goals and feed the ball into their shooters. I did say to my English and Australian friends on either side of me that I was impartial and didn’t care who won either way. But in truth I think I was rooting for England, the underdogs. I definitely wanted to see them put up more of a fight than they managed to. In the end Australia took the win 60 -44.This is one of the fourth netball matches I’ve managed to see in the UK, although I am yet to support the Silver Ferns over here. My day will come though as NZ, England, Australia and South Africa have just announced a new international competition between the four nations. It begins this year in Australia and NZ and will be hosted by England and South Africa in 2017. Hopefully that means a few more netball games in my future.