In the latest of a series of articles celebrating Welsh Netball reaching over 10,000 members for the first time in its history, we look at Maldwyn Netball Club from Powys. The club serves one of Wales’ most rural communities and despite the geography of the region they have recorded a huge level of growth in recent seasons to become a rising star of Mid & West Wales netball…

Leading the way at Maldwyn NC is Lisa Trigg, the Chair and Head Coach of the club. A proactive sports leader, she cites close relations with local schools as one of the driving forces behind the club’s growth.

Lisa said: “The clubs growth is due to a fantastic interaction with primary schools, high school’s and especially our local sports development officers, who notify me when tournaments are taking place, which I then make sure I attend. Through these I can chat to players and teachers and encourage them to come to the club.”

Like many coaches across the country, Lisa balances her netball commitments with full time work. She therefore relies on assistance from her local sports development officers who help forge the link between schools and clubs.

She said: “Seeing as I work full time, the role of the sports development officers Johnny Roberts and Ryan Davies is vital for communication and I think we have a brilliant rapport with them and the teachers in the area.”

The assistance of her local sports development team, along with a lot of hard work and dedication has led Maldwyn NC to record a huge level of growth, surpassing Lisa’s expectations. She added: “I always aimed to grow numbers to a manageable level but didn’t think it would be so quick my aim was 8 years for 60 members!”

With growth comes new challenges and catering for an increase number of netballers in a rural community is not an easy task. Lisa is assisted by Sorya Glynn and new coach Gaynor Hewings.

Lisa said: “Sorya has been fantastic – she suffered an injury whilst playing in my ‘back to netball’ group which meant she could no longer play. She didn’t want to give up, so I encouraged her to take up coaching. I have mentored her and her confidence has grown and it has been fabulous to see her grow into a fab assistant coach!”

As is often the case, netball is a family affair. Lisa added: “My daughter Tayla also helped out a lot and watching her grow over the years into a confident coach as well as player has been brilliant. It has also given her lots of fantastic experience working with children which has helped her gain a place at university. She has also inspired a lot of younger players to take up coaching within the club.

“I now have 5 young coaches and many more wanting to learn.which is absolutely fantastic and very encouraging.”

Watching the growth of Maldwyn NC has been a great joy for Lisa. She has no intention of being complacent however and she has her eye cast on further growth for the club. She does however cite Wales’ chronic shortage of netball facilities as a barrier to future growth.

She said: “I love netball. I love watching players improve, especially those who start out very quiet and shy and later become confident and well respected by their team mates.

“I would love in the future to run an indoor league for juniors that is my goal here in Newtown. We run a small summer league with my other club at Welshpool which the girls love. But indoor facilities are very difficult to come by but it is my main aim to provide an actual league in the winter run every week.”

As we know, clubs require a lot of hard work off the court. Lisa was keen to shout out her club secretary, Tracy Owen. She said: “A special mention has to go to my club secretary Tracy Owen who deals with all my admin.

“It is the forgotten role and the most vital for the club she has helped me for three years and taken a lot of stress off me. She loves watching girls improve and we always involve her in our decisions from choosing teams to being involved in regionals she usually scores for us. She also attends the [Welsh Netball National Competitions.]

“They have been a fantastic highlight for our teams to get to. Our Under 14s loved it and getting to see how other teams play is a fantastic experience. We may not win games there yet, but we are getting close!”

Welsh Netball would like to congratulate Lisa and her follow club coaches and officers for the fantastic work that they have done with Maldwyn NC. This resilient and proactive club is making a big splash in rural Wales and we wish them all the best for the future as we work towards a post-Coronavirus return to court.