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Netball November

For many, it brings back school day memories of slightly itchy sports pants and outdoor PE lessons on freezing cold days, where the teacher’s whistle was as shrill as the icy winds that were making our cheeks burn.

But netball has made a big comeback, thanks to the success of Team Wales at the Commonwealth Games – and especially the contribution of Aberdare’s very own Chelsea Lewis.

Hot on the heels of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Sport RCT campaign #Hocktober, which showcased the sport of hockey to residents of all ages, comes Netball November.

Cllr Ann Crimmings, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Leisure and Sport, said: “We are proud to be home of some exceptional sporting talent – young residents who fell in love with their chosen sport at school and went on, with our support to thrive and compete at a local, national and international level.

“Team Wales was filled with sporting talent from RCT and I am so pleased that these athletes, at the top of their game, continue to give back and act as ambassadors for their sport and inspirations to other young people in the county borough who love sport.

“Hocktober was a huge success and allowed us to raise the profile of hockey, now it is the turn of netball and, once again, RCT has its very own world class athlete in Chelsea Lewis to lead the campaign and encourage other young people to step into sport.

“Sport RCT has dedicated officers to help young people access the sport of their choice, including specialist support for those with disabilities. Our online club search facility allows you to join clubs and get involved and initiatives such as Netball November allows us to showcase just how easy it is to get involved.”

Leading the campaign is former Aberdare Girls’ School pupil Chelsea Lewis, 20, who has played the sport all over the world – but still trains in her beloved Sobell Leisure Centre.

Chelsea became interested in netball during her school days and she has been involved ever since. Just after competing for Team Wales in the Commonwealth Games, she travelled to New Zealand to be coached by the famous Silver Ferns. She is also undertaking a Sports Coaching degree at the University of South Wales, so she can pass on her talent to others,

She is the perfect role model for encouraging people to get involved in netball, a team sport that allows every player the chance to shine individually, but to benefit from playing alongside a talented team.

Chelsea is already inspiring the next generation of netball talent in RCT. A total of 14 young people are benefitting from the Council’s Future Champions scheme, which offers additional support for young people who show talent and promise in their chosen sport.

Rhiannon Moore, Shannon Hughes, Keira Hughes, Brogan Owen Morris, Aimee Williams, Martha Clayton, Gwenno Davies, Celyn Brooks, Sophie Powell, Lowri Jenkins, Rhianydd Reynolds, Cerys Reynolds, Milly Watts and Bethan Moore have all secured spots on the programme, which also offers workshops and training to allow young people to be at the top of their game.

If you fancy getting involved and netting yourself a new sporting hobby, there are plenty of ways to get involved in netball in RCT. There are several clubs across the county borough (four in Rhondda, one in Cynon and five in Taff). Find your nearest club by using the Council’s club finder

Young people motivated by Chelsea and the Future Champions can also join Sport RCT’s Skills Hubs, which provide four to six weeks of specific coaching in a selected sport for those aged seven to 11. Run by qualified coaches, the netball skills hub takes place at the University of South Wales Sports Park in Treforest from 4pm to 5pm every Friday from Nov 7 to Dec 12. Get involved by contacting Sport RCT

Hawthorn Leisure Centre runs a Back2Netball session from 4pm to 5pm every Sunday afternoon.