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The University has this morning closed the campus netball courts indefinitely. Citing a review by England Netball, the University claims that the courts have been deemed unacceptable for use and thus will be locked until further notice. This ban includes all training sessions and matches already booked on the courts.
Captain of Grizedale A-team Kiri Saunders spoke to SCAN to express her disappointment at the decision. Saunders said that despite increasing court booking fees at the start of this academic year, the University had done nothing to improve the playing surface. She further added that the decision to close the courts amounts to College sports being “sidelined by the University”.
A number of teams and individuals have been lobbying for a new surface on the courts for some time, hoping to avoid the need for sudden closures of the courts. This was unsuccessful, and netball players across the University will be left in limbo by the drastic decision to close the courts. Because of the sheer number of sports teams at the University, the indoor sports hall is already fully booked, raising concerns in relation to the continuation of this year’s College netball league.
At present, there is no alternative venue being proposed by the University for either College matches or College training, with Melinda Brookes of the Sports Centre saying that, at present, they are currently only “looking into other options” with no obvious alternative in the pipeline. Saunders argued that the disappointment goes beyond simply not being able to finish the tournament. Focusing on the number of people that participate in the College leagues, Saunders further suggested that the closure will result in people becoming less active as a result of having nowhere to train or play.
This is a developing story and SCAN will publish updates when available.