The 2019 highlights package

Amsterdam Tournament 2019

It’s fair to say that 2019 has probably been the most jam-packed year for Amsterdam Netball, combining multiple intra-club, inter-club and international tournaments that ranged from ladies, mixed and our very first all-men event. We’ve seen a bunch of new members arrive on the scene, and sadly we’ve seen members depart – all part and parcel of the expat life. With such a high level of participation from our members throughout the year, we thought we’d speak to a handful to find out what they experienced as their overall highlight for 2019.

Luciano García Bes

Lucho (with ball) is a new force to be reckoned with

Lucho, originally from Argentina, joined our club in early 2019 after a work colleague, an Amsterdam club member, decided to spread the word in the office. Having never heard of or played the sport of netball before, Lucho has come a long way in a relatively short space of time.

He participated in many mini tournaments and events throughout the year, including the Knights Men’s match (more about that later) and of course our annual Amsterdam Netball Tournament. “The international tournament in Amsterdam was amazing. Not only was it my first international netball tournament but I was also chosen the MVP of my team. That was a nice recognition and a motivation to keep learning more about this sport”.

Victoria Hobdale

Victoria Hobdale
Vic (far left) enjoying a cocktail at the weekly nestie brunch

It’s fair to say that Vic has been with the club pretty much from its inception; a time when just about all 8 members of the club would turn up and play some half court. Thankfully since then, the club has grown from 8 to about 80 members in the space of four years, allowing for greater opportunity to get involved and grow as a netballer.

“My highlight of the year has been playing netball outside in the summer time. It’s been a great way to start the weekend on a Saturday morning or on a sunny evening during the week with a well-rewarded beer with the team! Also this year, I have been working on jumping more on the court and focusing on the rebounds, which has really helped my game!”

Cameron Van Baarle

Cam's Knights Netball squad
Cam (front & centre) and his all-men squad getting ready to rumble

Cam is relatively new to the club, having joined last year in 2018, but has also made great strides, having quickly establishing himself as a player mentor, umpire, coach and more recently our Vice Treasurer. If that wasn’t enough, he is also making significant progress in putting netball on the Netherlands map. Do watch this space!

To top things off, he coordinated the first ever men’s tournament in the Netherlands where players from Amsterdam, Utrecht and Rotterdam combined to play against UK side, Knights Men’s Netball UK. “One of my highlights for 2019 was the ‘Knights Tournament’ that we hosted in September. It was amazing to be able to field an official men’s team for the first time ever. The support from all the ladies, both in terms of helping run the event as well as all of the supporters on the day, really summed up the club spirit for me”.

Tania Hudig & Blythe Forde

Amsterdam Netball in Copenhagen
Tania (back, 5th from left) and Blythe (front, 3rd from left) unexpectedly find themselves on the winning team

“Copenhagen – we won!”, exclaimed Tania and Blythe (at the same time) in response to their highlight of the year. The Copenhagen tournament, like previous Nordic tournaments played over the past four years has always been a friendly, laid back affair with little expectation or pressure; just a fun weekend to play against people other than your own teammates.

But in 2019, Amsterdam — having submitted two teams into the competition, came head-to-head in the final, with Amsterdam West taking out a one-point victory over Amsterdam East. With expectations of being once again the underdog in the comp, it was a pleasant surprise – even leading to thoughts of retirement for one person. “I’ve never won a European tournament before, and never thought I actually would. So this was well unexpected and perhaps a good enough reason to put the old joints, over-flexed tendons and hamstrings to rest”, said Blythe.

For Tania, it was great to see netball progressing further in Europe. “I guess it’s good to see the quality of European netball increasing and becoming more professional and organised. The friendliness of the competition and that both Amsterdam teams reached the final proves what a strong club we are. And an epic goal-for-goal final really topped it”.

Sebo Baase

Sebo Baase
Sebo is one of our most vibrant (inside & out) club members

Similar to Vic, Sebo has also been a part of the club from its inception and has seen many changes along the way. Sebo has netball skills and athleticism that many of us can only dream of and has begun sharing her netball knowledge as part of the club’s training committee.

“My highlight for 2019 with Amsterdam Netball club would be the growth of the club within just a year. When I joined the club four years ago we could hardly put one team together and now I look at it! I cannot believe how many members we have. Another highlight would probably be the standard of play. As we have players from everywhere, I enjoy seeing how other players played in their home countries and it’s so nice to combine the different ways of play into our teams. I cannot wait for tournament season, because let’s be honest, tournaments are the best (netball cocktails and team-bonding)! I’m very grateful to be a part of this club and cannot wait to see what the future holds”.

Iritana Engels

Iritana Engels
Iritana (front-right) has a whole lot of praise for the club

Iritana has been with the club so far for six months, but is another member who has managed to pack a lot into such a short space of time. Along with Cam, she is doing lots of work behind the scenes to put netball on the Netherlands map and hopes to have some exciting news to share in the new year.

“Highlights of 2019 range from the continuous contribution of the board and the many volunteers who give to the club, on top of playing. But mostly it’s great to get to know a bunch of people willing to progress to the next level of competitive sports. There have been banging social events to be a part of, as well as seeing my face on social media. I also co-captained Amsterdam Blue who were the raddest team for a successful Amsterdam tournament. I’m proud of all the effort that goes on behind the curtains; the negotiations, the decision makers, the early risers, the court preppers, and the people getting the message of Amsterdam Netball out there, the glue that makes it all possible! Here’s to 2020!”

While this is just a snapshot of some of the highlights experienced by members of the club, we’re sure there were many more proud moments. 2019 established itself as a sturdy foundation of success, something that 2020 can easily build upon to be even more exciting and inclusive for our members.

By Blythe Forde

Blythe Forde is a member of Amsterdam Netball and regular content contributor.