Hamilton indoor netballers triumph at world cup

Four Hamilton women were part of a winning under-21 women’s New Zealand team at the  indoor netball world cup in South Africa.

Hayley Clay, 20, Waimarie Anderson-Springer, 19, Carissa Te Wharau, 20, and Mereanna Monk, 18, were in the squad that won the six-a-side and finished second in the seven-a-side at the tournament played last month.

The NZ under-21 women's team celebrate success at the indoor netball world cup.
The NZ under-21 women’s team celebrate success at the indoor netball world cup. Photo: Supplied

“The games were great, we won the six-a-side world cup against Australia but lost the seven-a-side to Australia in overtime,” said team member Waimarie Anderson-Springer, after the Hamilton women competed along with eight other women from New Zealand.

New Zealand only had one team, while other countries, like Australia and South Africa, had multiple teams for each category.

“We had to adapt to the other teams’ style of playing, which was difficult at first but we learnt quickly and disciplined ourselves as we needed,” said Anderson-Springer

“It was great to see what the other countries have and their competitive rivalry between us all made the atmosphere very thriving and exciting.

“We bonded really well with the English teams and South African teams were nice off court.  The rivalry between us and Australia is always going to be intense but overall all the teams were great, they all have their own cultures as we do in New Zealand.”

The Hamilton women, who train together at Inzone Indoor Sports, only  found out they had been selected to go to South Africa in late March of this year and had a small window of time to fundraise and save for the trip overseas.

“All the girls on the team were able to come up with the money,” said team member Waimarie Anderson-Springer.  “We also organised a quiz night at a pub and we managed to raise $2,500 for the team.”

Many members of the team had not travelled much abroad, so the trip was a welcome chance to see another part of the world.

Although talk of sight-seeing was on the books before the trip, once the team got into South Africa “netball literally took over” for the team.

Along with bringing back the first and second place title for their divisions, the team also brought back an understanding of the struggles and reality of poverty that is in South Africa.

“South Africa was a really amazing experience for us all,” said Anderson-Springer.  “I think what amazed us most was the reality of everything in another country.  In New Zealand we know there is poverty but in South Africa it’s heightened by at least a thousand times.  It’s everywhere, every waking minute of the day.

“We didn’t understand was the way these people live and it hurt some of us to see them and their hardship.  But they were always respectful and didn’t seem discouraged.”

Many of the players families stayed behind in New Zealand but the team created a facebook page where supporters could follow the games and the team’s successes.

“We got tons and tons of support which was really amazing.”

Since returning from the World Cup the team have quickly slotted back into their daily life and normal routines.

“We haven’t really had a chance to celebrate our efforts in South Africa, it all still seems surreal to call ourselves world champions.  And for now we are having to go back to work and uni and other commitments.”

“I don’t think anything will be as fulfilling as what us 12 girls experienced as a family over there.”