Ark Dickens staff Back to Netball success

Ark Dickens staff Back to Netball success

Ark Dickens were the surprise package of the latest Workplace Back to Netball festival, held by England Netball.

The brand new team, who have never played together before, finished the festival in third place, only losing out to eventual winners Blake Morgan and runners up West Sussex Warriors.

Steph Strode, who organised the side, made up of staff from Ark Dickens Primary Academy in the centre of Portsmouth, was delighted with the result and the players’ enthusiasm to continue.

She said: “We entered on a bit of a whim, but also for a bit of team bonding before the new term began. None of the ladies have played netball recently, except Vicky who has been attending Back to Netball sessions for a little while. We were attracted to the fun nature of it and really did have a ball! We were a bit surprised about how well we did and now the ladies are planning some fun sessions after school!”

The workplace event, just the second of its kind in Portsmouth, also attracted teams from West Sussex County Council, Blake Morgan solicitors, nurses from QA hospital cardiac unit and Portsmouth City Council.

Organiser Debbie Laycock, who is the South East Hampshire Netball Development Community Coach for England Netball was delighted with the response from local workplaces.

She said: “As always the festival was played in a great spirit and we encouraged the more experienced netballers to help out those who haven’t played for a while. There was actually 49 ladies who played in the festival, who hadn’t played for a number of years, the feedback has been that they really enjoyed it so hopefully we will see them at Back to Netball sessions in the area or even workplaces setting up their own Back to Netball session – I’m always happy to help!”

Laycock added: “Ark Dickens were the surprise package of the night – they were very nervous at the start, but did really well. For me, the best part was that everyone seemed to enjoy themselves – even the teams who finished towards the bottom of the results, gave really positive feedback. Back to Netball is meant to be fun and friendly and that’s what we strive to deliver!”

For more information about Back to Netball sessions in the area, or if you are interested in a bespoke workplace Back to Netball session for your business or organisation please contact Debbie Laycock on

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