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.