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Saints Netball at Saint Andrews

This issue, I spoke to members of the Saints Netball club, getting a sense of a sport that for many is unfamiliar, but here in Scotland is commonplace in schools growing up.

The director of netball is St Andrews and Club Graduate Sally Sandison, who returned to the University last year to take up the position. Sally specifically coaches the 1s and 2s, who train together, but as director of the club, she promotes netball to the local community and supports club members in general. Netball is one of a small number of targeted performance teams at the University, and so as a performance sport, there are strength and conditioning sessions that the squad attend in order to harness their full potential on court.

Fourth year Daisy Newsham is a key member of Saints Netball, not only being the 1st team captain, but also as the coach for the 3s and 4s this season. Speaking to Daisy on her coaching goals this year, she wants to ensure players “not only remain motivated to continue developing on an individual and team level, but also continue to enjoy training and being a part of a competitive sport”. Daisy has a UKCC Level 2 Qualification and so is well placed to coach one of the three training groups that the competitive side of the club has. Daisy’s philosophy is that if “the players enjoy training with their teammates, and work hard during their sessions, then the long-term goals, such as success in match play, will ultimately be achieved”.

As captain for the first team, she sets similar goals for the team to that when she is coaching and being in Scottish Tier 1 for BUCS she says that “of course we set goals to win matches and climb up the league table”. Daisy emphasises that the “most important goal for my team this year is to support one another on and off the court to succeed and set an example for the rest of the club, which is in line with our club motto: ‘Proud of myself, Proud of my club, Proud to be a Saints Netballer’”. The 1s are one of five teams that compete in the BUCS Competition; there is also a BUCS feeder squad who train with the 5s as well as a recreational squad which is run by vice-president, Amy Gordon. Amy is continuing to develop and build on coaching skills she gained when volunteering in Zambia this summer for eight weeks. There is a place for all abilities within the club, from those who have competed internationally, to those who have never picked up a netball, and are understandably confused by the concept of not moving when you have the ball, quite the opposite to nearly every other sport.

The club have been lucky to have two fresher scholars, who are both exciting talents, join this season. Ellie Allen and Stella Lucano are the club’s midcourt and defending stars who are only just starting their journey through Saints Netball. As well as the two newbies, the club is very lucky to have a player who has had international prowess. Charmaine Baard joined the University as a Saints Netball Scholar last year to undertake a Master’s, having previously played professionally at Surrey Storm, as well as representing South Africa, making various squads, including the 2016 and 2017 Fast Five Team as well as the U21 squad in 2016. Having a player with such experience is a huge asset to the club on and off court. The valuable advice and support that she gives to all in the netball club is greatly appreciated, and this has been emphasised so far this season, as Charmaine broke two fingers which has meant she has had to watch the team play from the side-line. She is, however, making her comeback in the 1s next game, which is against Edinburgh away this weekend.

Unlike other sports, BUCS Netball fixtures take place on a Saturday, not a Wednesday and so club members are able to train on Wednesday afternoons and watch fellow Saints Sports Fixtures. There is a great community within the club; to see this, you just have to go down to the Sports Arena on a Saturday and piled up on the side-line are fellow club members supporting other teams.

Off the court, the club are also busy raising money for The Eve Appeal, which funds research and support for the five gynaecological cancers. Keep your eyes peeled for the Sports Stripped Naked Calendar which is a favourite fundraiser where different Sports strip their kit in order to raise money for a good cause!

If you are interested in getting involved in the club, you can contact the club through social media (@ustanetball) or email

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