For the first time in the club’s history, Amsterdam Netball crossed the English Channel to participate in its first UK tournament in the sleepy seaside town of Bournemouth, located in the south of England. While the club did not come away as tournament champions, they most certainly championed at team spirit, walking away as recipients of the Friendship Cup, which was warmly accepted by team club captain, Sally Cummins.
As a ladies only event, just enough interest was generated to submit a team of eight club members keen to take on the challenge. With most of the crew arriving late on the Friday evening, it was a quick pub meal and bed before an early Saturday morning start. Not that it mattered, the team were anxious to get to know the competition and take the court.
Thankfully, the sunny pre-summer conditions were a welcome bonus for this outdoor event. As the games began, the team were proving to be a good competitive match for all clubs encountered. By the end of the morning session on day one, Amsterdam had won four out of its six matches, losing only to the two sides who eventually made it into the final.
To reward such an effort, the afternoon was spent seaside with some good fish and chips and respect for a few brave players gutsy enough to embrace an ocean dip. Further indulgences continued back at the hotel. Having washed off the netball grime, prosecco and cocktails ensued, followed by dinner at a nearby restaurant. What a perfect day!
For day two, it was another morning session with three games on the agenda before finals. Accomplishing a draw, a loss and one win, Amsterdam gracefully bowed out of the competition having come together perfectly with complementary skills and experience shared. Mostly though, it was the laughs and camaraderie that made for a uniquely laid back and enjoyable tournament experience.
With the boring bit out of the way, I chatted to a couple of our stars from the weekend to gain a better insight into how we became the well and truly deserving recipients of the Friendship Cup.
Up first is Clare Pickens, an Advertising Executive and Masters Student originally from Liverpool in England (home to the most recent netball world cup), who has been living in Amsterdam for a solid ten years but only recently joined up with the club.
“This was my first competitive match back into netball after a ten year break, so I was nervous but quickly remembered how much fun a tournament is! I was pretty surprised but happy that we did so well against the young teams as I remember admiring the skill of the older ladies when I was on the younger side. The camaraderie of our tournament is unmatched and I loved making player profiles for our social channel, as it allowed me to get to know the team better.”
And finally, appointed team captain, Sally Cummins, who sadly had to leave us shortly after the tournament to head back to her Aussie homeland, has kindly shared with us her Bournemouth experience. As a teacher, originally from Shepparton, Victoria, she lived in Amsterdam for only short six months, but managed to make an impact on the club worth well beyond this timeline.
“The standard of netball was amazing and all teams were lovely to play against. There was a really positive and active vibe across both days of the tournament. But the highlight for me was coming together with my wonderful teammates and forming a bond off the court that helped us play better together on the court. The tournament confirmed for me the power of netball (or team sport in general), in having a positive mindset and how much easier this is to achieve when surrounded by people who support you both on and off the court.”
With Bournemouth a hard tournament to top, we wish Sally and fellow teammate Clare (and not to mention Lucy, Lauren, Rebecca, Katinka, Tania and Blythe) all the best in their future netball endeavours!