GOLDEN City association netballers are continuing to relish the opportunity to take part in competitive matches.
While play in most leagues, in particular senior competitions, was not possible this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the GCNA's junior competitions have continued uninterrupted since mid-October.
It followed an initial three rounds of action in July before the season was put on hold as coronavirus case numbers escalated in Victoria.
Most players will have two more chances to indulge their passion for netball, with matches scheduled for the next two Saturdays.
For those lucky enough to be in the top two teams in each division after December 5, grand finals await on December 12.
GCNA president Rachel Thomsen said the return of competitive netball could not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of players, officials, volunteers and parents and guardians.
"They (netballers) are having a great time, everyone is loving it, she said.
"Everyone just looks so happy to be here.
"We've had torrential rain, strong winds and today (last Saturday) we've got the heat, and yet it doesn't stop anyone.
"And apart from a few extra reminders across the COVID rules, everyone is doing the right thing.
"It's been terrific. Everyone doing the right thing just makes everything so much easier.
"Everyone has been very understanding of the rules we and they need to abide by."
To minimise crowd numbers at the venue, only one parent, guardian or spectator per player is allowed.
Thomsen said the rule had been well respected by those wanting to attend as had the guidelines on wearing masks.
A reminder on the one spectator per player rule is likely ahead of grand final weekend, unless the state government announces changes to the regulations on crowds.
Overall feedback on the condensed eight-week season had been very positive, according to the president.
"It's been incredibly difficult for everyone, but we were just happy to be able to get back to competitive netball," Thomsen said.
"We're very fortunate to have the facilities that we have got. It would be remiss of me not to mention the support we got from the Bendigo Stadium because they do all the cleaning of the amenities, which is so important."
The association's loyal band of volunteers have also played a key role in the running of the season.
"Our association is all about the netball and all about the volunteers; without the volunteers you just wouldn't be able to do it," Thomsen said.
"If you didn't have that support, it would be incredibly hard to deliver something.
"I see there's a real push to get volunteers back into sport - they're just so important."
It's been incredibly difficult for everyone, but we were just happy to be able to get back to competitive netball.Rachel Thomsen
Thomsen said fingers were crossed the GCNA could return to 'a normal, or as close to normal season' in 2021, at the traditional starting time in April.
"The good thing is, if there's a pandemic, we know we can still deliver," she said.
"We're definitely hoping we can get back to normal, but I guess you don't know what's going to happen in the world.
"I think it's a real credit to the committee, the sub-committees and the volunteers and members to get this season up and running.
"We've had teams like Carisbrook travel a good distance to get over here.
"We understand some teams will go back to their own leagues, but if that doesn't happen or something doesn't come up, I'd love to see our numbers increase."
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