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Netball in Singapore: All you need to know

By: Katie Roberts

Netball in Singapore: All you need to know 

www.bedokkings.com

Playing on the hallowed turf of the Padang is not something I ever expected to do, but a recent friendly netball game between the Bedok Kings and Singapore Cricket Club was an opportunity too good to pass up. This friendly match was a pre-season trailer in the lead-up to the official 2011 netball calendar, and a chance to blow away the cobwebs.

The Padang is a far cry from the boggy and foggy netball courts of country New South Wales where I grew up and played netball as a winter sport, as do most primary school girls from Australia, England, New Zealand and South Africa. Definitely no freezing legs in pleated cotton skirts here in balmy Singapore. Lycra-blend uniforms are emblazoned with the logos of sponsors, a testament to the popularity of the sport. The skirts are still very short, though!

Playing with a night-time view of the city skyline is infinitely more glamorous than the backdrop of a school building. Speaking of glamour, I soon have a red and sweaty face, and the other girls tell me it’s normal to substitute on and off each 15-minute quarter to allow for the heat.

Training and games are mostly held at Kallang Netball Centre. The season comprises a mix of club leagues, intermittent carnivals, and friendlies against touring teams. Bedok Kings A-grade netball team competes in the invitational Singapore National Super League. I’ve no illusions of ever making the super league. Instead, I will leave that to the younger and fitter – and be content to play without injury, get some exercise and have a bit of fun, too.

How to play netball

Netball is a non-contact sport. There are two teams, each with seven players. A team is divided into defence and attack positions, which are clearly marked on the bibs attached to the players’ shirts. The aim is to pass the ball from player to player until it reaches the shooter, who attempts to score a goal by throwing the ball though a round ring attached to a high pole. Depending on their position in the team, players are only allowed in certain zones of the court and, unlike basketball players, may not run with or dribble the ball.

Bedok Kings Netball

Netball is one arm of the Bedok Kings Club, which also supports rugby and indoor cricket teams. It’s billed as the largest club in Singapore, with around 60 active players making up five ladies’ and two mixed teams. Largely made up of expatriates, the Club welcomes players from any nationality, any age (above 16) and any level of playing ability. Membership fees are $350 per year from 1 May till 30 April (pro-rata available) and include uniform, all training costs and match fees. There are monthly social gatherings and an annual tour to a tournament within Asia. The World Netball Championships will be held in Singapore from 3-10 July this year, so there is a feast of top-class netball coming up.

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