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Netballers ready to ‘dive into the sand’

Wednesday 4 January 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Netball, Sports

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Netballers ready to  ‘dive into the sand’
Beach Netball will be held for the first time in the Cook Islands this weekend. WORLD NETBALL/23010307

The annual Beach Games to be held from January 6-21 will feature Beach Netball for the first time in the Cook Islands.

Netball Cook Islands welcomed the proposal by organisers Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee (CISNOC) to host Beach Netball for the first time in the Cook Islands.

The daylong competition will take place on Saturday, January 7 from 8am at the Beach Courts in Nikao.

Netball Cook Islands secretary Tekura Moeka’a said the two organisations will be working together to ensure the event goes without a hitch.

Beach Netball is a five-a-side game played on a 10x20 metre sand court with one goal post. There are no playing positions, all members on court can move about in all areas of the court.

Moeka’a said: “Beach Netball like Fast 5 Netball maintains most traditional netball rules like contact, replayed ball, stepping, obstruction, short pass and out of court.”

“For Beach Netball – added rules include the ‘Dive into the Sand’ – players may dive on the catch to catch or gain possession of the ball and can release the ball from the ground. After a goal is scored the ball must return to the transverse line before a shot for goal. There is also a 3-point zone and a 1-point scoring zone.”

There are 13 teams registered for the event. Registrations have closed however there may be some last-minute exceptions, Moeka’a said.

Three categories/grades are included in the first Beach Netball – Masters Mixed, Open Mixed and U18 Mixed.

A maximum of two male are allowed on the court. Format will be pool matches followed by play offs.

“Netball Cook Islands is looking forward to hosting the first Beach Netball of its kind perhaps in the Pacific. We believe those who have registered will be receptive to the additional rules and it will be a fun-filled day. And if all goes well, this will be an annual occurrence. We are hoping in the future it could be run similarly to Netball in Paradise where teams from overseas will be enticed to participate too.

“Netball Cook Islands have and will always promote the good game of netball. We are currently competing with other local sports competitions which has impacted the number of participants especially at the senior level, officials like umpires and bench officials and coaches. Beach Netball provides another avenue that is inclusive and should encourage development of interests in playing or officiation.

“This will be a great opening for netball in 2023 as we work towards other netball competitions like the local Rarotonga competition and Pacific Games 2023 to name a few.”