Ripley Netball Club is celebrating 20 years of success with an event to be held at The Spot in Derby, tomorrow evening (Friday).
Founded in 1994 by Cheryl Naylor, the club continues to go from strength to strength, fielding ten teams featuring a mixture of seniors and juniors.
A get-together is being held in Derby and all ex-members - and current members - are welcome. Tickets are £30 a head, a price that includes a four-course meal, entertainment from the band Brotherhood, plus a magician.
The club is also producing a yearbook to celebrate this notable anniversary.
Looking back to how the club was started in 1994, Cheryl Naylor explained: “I used to play for a ladies team in Ripley but that folded and then, after going to Kimberley Leisure Centre for some sessions, I thought I’d start something myself. I put an ad out there and it took off from there.
“Initially, the aim was to create a team for adults as it was originally called Ripley Ladies Netball Club. It built up steadily. Since then we’ve added a team, gone down a team and then up again, until we are currently at the stage where we have got the biggest number of teams we’ve ever had (ten), three of which are for seniors, and the rest are for juniors across a wide range of ages.”
The club trains in the new sports hall at Swanwick Hall School and currently has members aged 7-53, coming to the club from across a wide geographical area.
Cheryl, an award-winning coach, continued: “I work for Opengate Sports Developement as a coach, going out into the feeder schools for Heanor Gate Science College, so that helps me meet young players and encourage them take up the sport.
“We’ve got a waiting list and we are bursting at the seams, but I don’t like to turn anyone away so we have a lot waiting to join. That is a great position for the club to be in.
“They come from all over: Allestree, Sheffield, Matlock, Chesterfield, Wirskworth and all over Amber Valley too.
This has been another good year so far for the club. Achievements include Ripley Netball Clubs u16’s squad qualifying for the regional u16s tournament as Derbyshire champions and Cheryl’s daughter Cherese going for England u19s trials in March at the age of just 15. Three years ago, Cherese also became the youngest qualified netball umpire in the country, aged just 12 years and three months.
Cheryl concluded: “We’ve got a squad to suit everyone here. If you want to play competitive netball to a good standard, we’ve got the team for you. Similarly, if you want to come and enjoy the social side of the game and play just for fun, we’ve got a squad for that aspect as well. It’s a good blend.
“We didn’t want it just to be for the elite because we want as wide a range of players to get involved in here as possible. I’m very proud that we’ve reached 20 years and are doing so well.”
To find out more about the club, and ticket details for Friday’s event, you can call Cheryl on 07974 304389.