It’s the final countdown … my penultimate Yorkshire Evening Post column! Just two more games to go and this time next week I will be kicking my heels and getting in some much-needed rest and rehabilitation after a physically and mentally bruising 2016 Vitality Netball Superleague season.
Having had a bye weekend and no games, losses or even wins to speak of I wanted to take the time to highlight the Yorkshire Jets Athlete Development Programme (YJADP).
Currently, England Netball are asking existing and potential new franchises to submit their desire to take part in the tender process and ultimately take a place in the 2017 Vitality Netball Superleague (VNSL) in the new cycle that will run until 2021.
Twenty-seven ‘expressions of interest’ have been made and the ratified tender process will result in six to 10 franchises being awarded franchise licenses in June.
Amongst many other things, successful applicants will be expected to take more ownership over delivering the Performance Pathway. The Yorkshire Jets want to maintain their reputation for developing young talent and so have formed a variety of partnerships across Yorkshire.
The vision is that this will grow over time and spread across the region to complement the existing England Netball and National Performance League Pathway.
The intention of the YJADP is to provide a high-quality training environment for the region’s most promising netballers aged between 12 and 24.
YJ Athlete Development Programmes are open to anyone from Yorkshire who is the right age for the specific programme; is committed and passionate about netball and improving their skills; has talent and potential (irrespective of whether they are already part of a club/school team or in the England Netball Pathway or not).
Trials for the 2016 Summer Programme are open now so get yourself to the YJ website for more information!
Huge changes are afoot across all levels of our game at the moment. The most high-profile arguably being the confirmation last week that England Netball will be transitioning players to full-time status by June.
With England hosting the 2019 Netball World Cup and the organisation’s mission being to reach the final, it is likely that this will be an approach that they feel will elevate performance levels and results within the performance programme for 2019 and beyond.
Finally this week, I wanted to express my sadness at the premature departure of Vanes-Mari DuToit. Over the weekend Vanes learnt the news about the death of her grandmother and so has returned to South Africa to grieve with her family and lay her grandmother to rest.
Having lost my grandmother right before I moved to Leeds and found out the news whilst I was away travelling following the 2015 Netball World Cup, I have complete empathy for her situation and the desire to be with your family.
Our thoughts and prayers are with her at this difficult time and, no doubt, she will receive all the love and support that she needs from the wider YJ family.
Round 13 of the VNSL will see us cross the border and take a lengthy journey South to face Celtic Dragons on Saturday, April 16, at 4pm.
The final round of the league will then roll quickly around as we head across the Pennines to face roses rivals Manchester Thunder for Manchester LIVE on Monday, April 18, at the MEN Arena.
This game will be being shown live on Sky Sports. Tickets are still available at www.netballmanchesterlive.com so why not join us for one last hurrah for the 2016 season!
Who knows, following our most competitive game of the season against them in the first half of the campaign, we may even go out with a bang!