Grove in the right groove
AFTER another big win against close rivals Queenscliff over the weekend, the Ocean Grove Netball Club is off to an absolute flyer in 2022.
Currently one month into the season, teams from A to E grade are sitting pretty on the ladder, with A Grade currently sitting in third whilst teams B through to E division are all enjoying the view from the top of their conference.
After commanding wins against Queenscliff and Newcomb in the last fortnight, the Grubbers are looking a serious threat for the flag as we approach the quarter way mark of the 2022 Bellarine Football Netball League season.
Ocean Grove Netball co-ordinator Gill Hodgson has been rapt with the club’s start to the netball season and puts the success of the first part of the season down to stability and strong camaraderie.
“As a club we have been very excited as to how the ladies have started this season and I think that has really come down to the amount of support and camaraderie that the girls have built over a long duration of time.
“We’ve had plenty of ladies come through our junior program all together and build their skills up throughout our differing grades and levels.
“It’s been great to see the netballers really embrace the pandemic period and continue to thrive throughout this difficult time. We can’t wait for the rest of the season,” Hodgson added.
After being at the helm of the coaching department of the club during the pandemic, Senior A/B grade coach Nikki Cooke is eager to see the group get a full season under their belt for the first time in three years, crediting her team for sticking together during the pandemic.
“We’ve been really pleased with how the season has kicked off in 2022, however we know it’s a long season ahead and we need to just continue to play strong netball and embrace how great it is to just be back out on the court.
“During the pandemic, our group touched base regularly, however I really tried to give the ladies as much space as possible as there was already so much going on in their lives.
“I certainly didn’t want to complicate or stress the team out during this already difficult time, and I feel the ladies responded well to that freedom that was given.”
Like Hodgson, Cooke credits the friendships that have been made over a long period with being a major factor in the success so far this season.
“We are super lucky that we’ve got a multitude of team combinations and friendships that have been built over a long period of time which has meant that we were able to retain 99 per cent of our playing group.
“We have a great level of trust and faith in our group due to many seasons together and these ties are holding us in good stead to this point in the season as we embrace the opportunity that 2022 brings across all grades of the club.”
Through their extensive commitment to continuing the development of their talented junior crop of netballers, the 2022 success has also filtered through their younger group.
Three games into the season and the club are sitting in the top two in a multitude of junior leagues including U17 Division 1 and 2 as well as the first two grades of U/15 netball.
“We’ve got amazing people involved in our junior program and that is certainly keeping us going at the top end as well.
The respected program combined with a big town atmosphere has given us a great chance at being successful for many years to come,” Cooke said.
With a matchup against fellow Bellarine Peninsula team Portarlington on the agenda this week, the Grubbers will look to continue their high rolling ways and chalk up another big win to set up the rest of what is already an enthralling 2022 season.