It has been an outstanding year for the University of St Andrews Netball Club.
The club is incredibly ambitious, striving for excellence and as a result has surpassed expectations in one of its most successful years to date. Netball at St Andrews has continually improved and expanded, now boasting record numbers of memberships and producing excellent results. The success of the newly established fourth team in their BUCS league highlights the expansion for the club which aims to produce a fifth team competing in a competitive league.
This year saw the appointment of the club’s first ever director of sport, Heather Gaunt, the first female director of sport at the University. She has brought a new impetus to the club, focusing training sessions, introducing additional shooting sessions, and improving the level of technological analysis in strength and conditioning sessions. This highlights the increasing stature and professionalism that this club upholds.
On the court, the results across the teams speak for themselves. In the highly competitive 1A BUCS league, the first team finished second. They also finished second in the SSS Netball Championship and played in their first ever Varsity match against the formidable Edinburgh side. The level of commitment and attention to detail put in by the girls behind the scenes is extraordinary and it is no surprise that their results reflect this. Special mentions must go to Anoushka Nichols and Sally Sandison whose performances this year have resulted in them being selected for the Scottish Student Sport (SSS) National Rep Squad. With an abundance of outgoing players, it will be exciting to see whether the team can surpass the progress made this year.
It is not just the first team that is excelling. The twos came tantalisingly close to promotion, finishing second is a very competitive division. With many fresh faces in this new look team, it seems certain that they will achieve great things next year. Having won back-to-back promotions, the third team were able to maintain their place in a tough division, leaving the second team looking anxiously over their shoulder.
However, perhaps the biggest success was the emergence of the new fourth team. In their debut season, they remained undefeated, thrashing those who dared to stand in their way and finishing with a magnificent points difference of +323.
Alongside its terrific team results, the club has made outstanding achievements in its fundraising and engagement with the local community. It strives for the inclusion and expansion of the game both within St Andrews and the wider netball community. The girls have had coaching responsibilities at Madras College, but have also assisted with Greyfriars Primary School and with Active Fife to run primary school netball festivals within the sports centre.
On top of this, as I’m sure many of you are aware, the netball club are responsible for the organising and creation of the ever popular Sports Stripped Calendar. Depicting the University teams in all their glory, the calendar, alongside a sold out launch event in Club 601, raised more than £3000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust. If this year is anything to go by, things are only looking up for Saints Netball.