On Sunday 24 June, the Local Authority (LA) Hub season came to a close with a final LA Hub Showcase taking place in Deeside, Flintshire for teams across North Wales. Dozens of teams, featuring hundreds of players have participated in Welsh Netball’s LA Hub programme this season and showcases have been taking place across Wales over the last few weeks. The LA Hubs are comprised of Under 11, 13 and 15 squads and have been a melting pot of netball talent within Wales’ counties.

The showcases have seen all of the LA Hub teams coming together to compete against their regional peers and they have been a platform for squads and players to demonstrate their improved skills and knowledge. The North Wales showcase was no different, and the late June sunshine proved no distraction as hundreds of happy and enthusiastic players went head-to-head in Deeside Leisure Centre. 

Lily Williams, 13 from Holywell plays predominantly at GS for Flintshire LA Hub. She shared some of her thoughts on the LA Hub programme.

She said: “I’ve played netball since I was 6 or 7 – a long time! I’ve been with LA Hub training at Coleg Cambria for the last couple years.”

“I love playing with LA Hub because you play with new friends a from different clubs and it’s always different. In training we focus on particular skills and I enjoy the fun drills because they each have a specific purpose.”

Lily added: “I’ve had the chance to play with some older players which has helped me develop. It makes you more confident – you have to talk to new people and train with unfamiliar players.”

Coaches also enjoyed the North Wales LA Hub showcase. Anya Jones, who coaches with Gwynedd & Anglesey LA Hub expressed her enjoyment of working within the programme. 

“I’ve loved coaching LA Hub this year. It is great to see the young ones develop and some of the older ones start to play at a higher level. As a result of LA Hub, we see young players get involved with local leagues.”

Anya coaches 35 Under 15s in her Hub which has approximately 90 players across all age ranges. Despite also running Thundercats Netball Club she is dedicated to the development of the players within her LA Hub squad.

“They’ve really come along this year. They’ve worked hard and now their timing is a lot better. Their general knowledge of the game has also improved and as a result we see a cleaner game. Some are interested in gaining an umpiring qualification which will also benefit their knowledge of the game.”

Players from Anya’s Hub, as well as Hubs across the region have gone on to the next level in their netball development.

“A number of girls have up to the DTC (Development Training Centre) from our Hub and we have a few that we hope will do the same this year.”

As well as developing netball skills, the Hubs assist the social development of the young players. 

“A lot of players have come together through the Hub. There’s been some good bonding going on. The Hub is a good introduction for players who may not have a club background or lack netball provision in school.”

Reflecting on the showcase itself, Anya said: “It has been a good chance to see other areas and how we measure up against them and how we’ve developed.”

Abbie Kelsall, North Wales Netball Development Officer, who organised the showcase was pleased with the turnout for the end of season showpiece. She said: “It has been amazing to see so many passionate players and coaches here today. LA Hub has been a great success for netball in North Wales and it is great that we can provide our talented young players with a platform to come together and take their game to the next level!”

Welsh Netball would like to congratulate all of the players who have participated in the programme and the showcases across Wales this year. Welsh Netball would also like to thank all of the coaches, umpires, volunteers and parents for their hard work in making the programme such a success this season.