The game looks more entertaining than ever, but still doesn’t gain the media attention it craves..
1.A powerful new rivalry is born
It was a fitting end that Surrey would face Thunder in the final. The two sides have been head and shoulders above the rest all season and have only dropped points against each other in closely contested games. Both sides would have been worthy winners and have created an exciting competitive rivalry that could run for years to come.
2.Netball needs no changes to entertain
If the Fastnet variation of netball was introduced, like cricket’s twenty20 or rugby sevens, as a way of making the game faster and more accessible to newcomers to the sport, then this final suggested it wasn’t necessary.
Fast breaks from one side to the other were immense, with smooth passing routines to rival Barcelona’s ‘tici-taca’ style. They game has demonstrated a fast paced all-action standard that need not compromise to gain attention.
3.Support was key to the success
It was great to see so many fans travel down to Dagenham for the finals, particularly from the north of England. Not only that but the continued vocal support for the players, the pride in wearing a surprising amount of club merchandise and memorabilia, even home made signs showed a close relationship between fans and players that is often missing from the professional sports leagues.
The intensity of the final made it gripping all the same but the loyal support made it all the more special for its winners.
4.Hope for England Netball
Excellent displays from both sides will have impressed Anna Mayes the England coach and given her much optimism for the future.
The new format to this season has resulted in more competitive fixtures and close scored battles on the court, with great success. This will give emerging England payers more experience of big occasions and competing with a high standard, that could well benefit them well in future clashes with Australia and New Zealand.
5.Still no media coverage
It was understandably a big weekend of sport, particularly with Chelsea’s victory parade and West Ham’s promotion all happening in London alone, but it was disappointing to still see no coverage in television or print news this morning.
A sport so heavily represented in players across the UK is still suffering far too little representation in the UK media, while stories are still run ironically on the lack of coverage altogether. Netball in the UK has still yet to reach its much deserved audience, and will need more than some Geoff Shreeves Twitter banter to get there.