Success Of English Netball Team Helps Spark 44% Increase In Nationwide Participation
Netball is "on the rise across England, with record numbers of participants playing the game," according to Polley & Rimmer of the BBC. England Netball Development Officer Pauline Knight said, "Netball is thriving, a lot of girls live and breathe netball." A "surge in Superleague has played a part" in the sport's "boom," according to Knight, along with the success of the national team, which is ranked third in the world. And it is "not just a woman's game anymore." A men's equivalent -- "Nets" -- is "gaining global recognition." The numbers "speak for themselves" -- there was a 44% increase in participation at the grassroots level in the last year, "with nearly 30,000 players pounding the courts across England." The sport is "thriving" in Birmingham. Knight said that having two Superleague sides -- Severn Stars and current league champion Wasps -- within 30 miles "has helped dramatically with raising the profile of netball in and around the city" (BBC, 1/3).