The Berlin Bunch

Approaching the end of one of Amsterdam Netball‘s most hectic years yet, the club participated in its final tournament for the season in beautiful Berlin. Grabbing the opportunity to give our guys a run, this mixed team saw the likes of Mack, Peter and making his tournament debut for the club, Leenze, sharing the spotlight with regulars Vic, Tania, Tanya, Debby, Katie and Jess. Coming in to the tournament with no expectations and an opportunity to play competitively, the club proudly placed third on the day, having been outmatched by hosts, Berlin. But all was not lost and even more was gained, as Jessica Bartlett and Debby Owen share their insights from their netballing weekend abroad…

The Amsterdam crew ready for action! Back (L-R): Tanya, Tania, Leenze, Vic, Peter; Front (L-R): Debby, Katie, Jess, Mack

Jessica Bartlett

Having joined Amsterdam Netball a little over a month ago, Jess has quickly embraced the club in very a short space of time and was keen to participate in the tournament. As she explained, “It was a mixture of excitement to be part of a netball group again, the opportunity to travel internationally for a competition and to play and network with old and new members. We have such a great group of people in our club, and a weekend away can really forge stronger bonds for both playing and friendships,” said Jess.

As for the tournament, it was at times, tough going and playing back-to-back games in 27-degree heat for eight hours certainly took its toll on the team. At the same time, there was a nice mixture of different player levels. There were teams whom proved they’d played together for a long while, whereas others were newly formed. According to Jess, the Berlin Netball club did an amazing job organising what was their very first tournament. And special mention also goes to their dedicated timekeeper who kept all the teams in check and on time for games, water and food.

The social side of the weekend was a particular highlight too. According to Jess, the team dinner was a great way to celebrate, network and wind down after a long day. As well, Sunday was a great opportunity to explore the city. “As a self-appointed tour guide, I took the team Sunday for a tour around Berlin to take in the historic sights. You can find me on trip advisor with a 5-star rating…it was a free tour but I live on tips,” Jess proclaimed.

As for any standout moments, Jess discovered that Mack was someone who was easily startled, “so that alone was brilliant and worth the trip”. But overall, it was a great opportunity to get to know each other. “I think everyone left feeling like they had a little holiday and not just traveled-played netball-went home, and gave us the opportunity to bond further outside our love of netball,” said Jess.

Jess (front and centre) proudly showing her team the sights

Debby Owen

In a similar fashion to Jess, Debby Owen, is also a recent member of Amsterdam Netball, having racked up nearly three months with the club. For Debby, participating in the Berlin tournament was about the total experience, “To be able to play in a tournament representing an awesome club like Amsterdam Netball gave me the chance to get to know players outside of the normal training…being new, you feel like bit of a stranger, so that was the perfect opportunity to get to know people and go past the “hello” only stage,” Debby reflected.

With regards to the competition on the day, Berlin were definitely a standout side, and absolutely fantastic both on and off the court. Aside from also needing to survive the heat, Debby was very proud to have placed third on the day and very much valued the new friendships she was able to build with some of her team members. According to Debby, “Mack was the captain and played the leadership role well. But I think every person on the team contributed to the team spirit. The ones who didn’t play at the time would cheer the others on and look after the kiddies. We all had a blast and a lot of laughs. Such an awesome bunch together”.

Here’s to many more tournaments like these in the coming year!

Cheers!

By Blythe Forde

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