THE Wendouree Netball Association has celebrated its first year of re-affiliation with Netball Victoria by awarding two of its long-serving contributors life memberships.
Ballarat City Councillor Amy Johnson presented club stalwarts Kay Hitchens and Jordan O’Keefe with their awards at the Association’s senior A grade championship final on Monday night.
The Association operated successfully as the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre until it ceased to operate in the late 1990s, and was subsequently managed by Ballarat Basketball before re-affiliating with Netball Victoria in 2012.
Hitchens, who has been a long-time volunteer of the club, began her ties with Wendouree as a player in 1985 and added umpiring, coaching and committee responsibilities in 1988.
She was also instrumental in much of the work that led to the complex opening.
She also founded the Delacombe Netball Club in the 1990s and volunteered to join the WNA committee earlier this year.
O’Keefe, a player with Wendouree since 1991 and an umpire since 1997, is currently a member of the Netball Victoria High Performance Umpiring Academy and is a two-time premiership winning coach within the Ballarat Netball Association.
The blossoming development programs across the Ballarat region, of which O’Keefe has been a key figure in, has sparked further interest in the sport to the point where the available competition nights are full.
O’Keefe has expressed support for any re-development of indoor sports facilities on the Wendouree site.
“There is no doubt we would be able to offer an increased range of competitions on most nights of the week, if more courts become available here,” he said.
“More players could enjoy the health benefits of regular exercise within a competition environment.”