The radical change proposed for Hervey Bay Netball
NETBALL: Mid-week games under lights at the brand new Fraser Coast Sport Precinct will entice Hervey Bay netball players to return to the sport in droves next year.
That is the hope of Hervey Bay Netball Association, which is considering a radical shift to its playing schedule.
The persistent struggle to increase participation numbers has forced HBNA to look to its past for a solution, and a return to Wednesday night fixtures for senior competitions could be the answer.
HBNA president Eddie Anderson said that while the idea was not set in stone, the overwhelming response to surveys and feedback during the past two years had forced the local organisation to consider the mid-week shift.
Anderson said feedback provided after the 2017 season had offered overwhelming support for a shift of HBNA's Division 1, 2 and 3 competitions to Wednesday night.
That could include a fourth senior division if player numbers dictate growth.
Time-poor families trying to juggle numerous sports was one of the main reasons, but unsatisfactory lighting at the courts next to Hervey Bay PCYC did not allow the association to consider the move for the 2018 season.
The construction of the Fraser Coast Sport Precinct, at which work on the netball courts and lighting is well advanced and construction of the clubhouses is expected to soon start, has given HBNA the facility it needs to execute such a move.
One major issue with a potential move is the clash with Maryborough Netball Association's games, all of which are played Wednesdays.
Anderson said he and the HBNA committee had a responsibility to best serve its members, as well as former players who he said had indicated they would return if games were played mid-week.
It is a blast from the past for HBNA, which ran fixtures on Wednesday nights a decade ago. At that time, Anderson said, HBNA boasted more than 1500 playing members.
"We believe, to grow our membership, we should give it another go," Anderson said.
"The precinct's facilities are good enough to do it and we believe we can attract those players who can't usually play on Saturdays. We have to cater to our members, and if the majority want (a change) then we should give it a go."
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