Netball: Flood strands players

JONATHAN MCKEOWN
Last updated 13:00 24/04/2013

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A group of under-19 netball players was stuck inside the Saxton Stadium facility during the worst of the flooding.

Some of the 14 players trialling for the under-19 Nelson rep team were forced to abandon their cars on Sunday night, others tried to prevent the floodwaters from entering the stadium before moving to higher ground when the power went out inside the stadium.

The netball trial was scheduled for 5.30pm in Saxton Stadium. Coach Robyn Leonard had come from Stoke and was, at that stage, surprised to receive phone calls from a few players from Richmond to say they were stuck in flooding and could not make it.

"We did a bit of training and the thunder was loud and the rain unbelievably loud on the roof," Leonard said. "Then the [Saxton Stadium] staff member on duty said the water had started seeping into the foyer."

A few of those present had got trellis tables and put them up against the walls to help stop the water "rushing in", but to no avail.

The trial was called off and some players were able to leave, while others could not get out of the flooded car park.

Lyn Fleming, the team manager and a policewoman, was on hand, along with a few parents and umpires. As a result, calm heads prevailed, the group making their way to the dry netball pavilion building to wait the few hours until they were able to leave.

"It was incredible how quickly the water receded when the rain stopped," Leonard said. "My car was parked out the front and the water was an inch from the door, once the rain stopped, that water had gone.

"It was a bit of a nightmare really, but the communication was good and we just sat it out and waited until we got word that we could leave the back way.

"But, as we said, the girls will remember that trial for a while."

Nelson Netball administration manager Leanne Russ was packing up her flooded office yesterday, and confirmed that the premier grade would now be played at the Nelson College for Girls' gym due to the condition of the stadium floor.

"It is warping at the sides and the gaps between the planks are already evident," she said. "They had to mop the mud off it just to have a look at it . . . that entire floor was covered with water and mud."

She said there would be no Thursday night social netball until further notice, while all other grades would play on Saturdays at the netball courts outside the stadium.

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- The Nelson Mail

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