Ashwood began its life in 1989 with a team of Grade 3 friends who wanted to play netball together. The team was called the Doves and their colours were white and pink. Eike Shields and Krys Cahill were their coaches and Joy Oldfield represented the rest of the committee. By 1991, we had three teams: Alleycats, the Pink Panthers and the Pink Pussy cats. They played under the banner of “The Panthers Netball Club”. Fees for the Spring season were $15.00.
The first formal newsletter titled Pink Panthers and Pink Pussycats was distributed. Winter fees were $30.00 and 4 teams played in the white and pink. In Spring 1992, 5 teams were fielded: 3 Primary and 2 Junior level. The Spring 1992 newsletter states: “….Without Eike tirelessly training, coaching, umpiring and generally organising teams, the Panthers Netball Club would not be able to survive, and many girls would not have the opportunity to participate and learn the excellent skills that Eike can impart.” This drive continues to mould the club, its values and offers girls and ladies of all ages the opportunity to play netball.
1993 heralded the birth of Ashwood Netball Club with seven teams: Pink Pussycats, Pink Kitkats, Pink Alleycats, Pink Stussycats, Pink Coolcats, Pink Panthers and Wildcats – our mums team. In 1993, regular training was offered to the players at the Ashwood courts. The teams were: Pink Panthers, Cool Cats, Pink Alleycats, Kitkats and Pink Pussycats. Sponsorship began in Spring 1993 with Cahill Engineering donating four sets of bibs, The Butler family donated a netball and Dot Walton made scrunchies for the Kitkats to wear. We were always fashionable! Spring 1993 saw a huge growth in the club with 10 teams representing Ashwood Netball club with 3 Sub-junior teams, 3 Junior teams and 4 Senior teams. Club badges were offered to sew onto player skirts, new uniforms were introduced and jackets were being made by Jenny Dyball in fluoro pink and black. To celebrate the growth of our club and to consolidate club spirit, the team song was developed.
Fees were $35 for Winter and Juniors played in a black t-shirt with a white skirt and pink bibs. Seniors played in all black, but still had pink bibs. The club grew to 12 teams. We held our first fundraising event – a sausage sizzle at the courts. Training had been separated up till this point. The Caulfield-based teams trained at St Aloysius while the rest of the teams trained at the WDNA courts in Ashwood. A new venue was found and all players were invited to train at Ashburton Pool and Recreation Centre with a small charge of 50cents to cover the cost of hiring the venue for the two hours of court hire. This was the first season that we had a team playing at Jells Park on a Monday Night – Ashwood Panthers.
Winter of 1994
At the end of the Winter season ’94, Ashwood Netball Club held elections for its first official committee. President: Roger Young, Secretary: Joy Oldfield, Treasurer: Kaye Young, General Committee: Krys Cahill, Chris McCormack, Eike Shields, Sandy Perkins, Heather Corrie, Regina Hona. Another highlight of the year was to see the original players in the Doves team move to the Senior section. The team had been kept together as they progressed through Sub-junior and Junior ranks, even though some of the original players had left the team. Winter presentation took the format closer to the way we now celebrate our club’s highs and lows. Ashwood Football Club was the venue of choice offering drinks at bar prices and a cosy setting for our celebrations. Sponsorship continues in the form of donations of bibs by Cahill Engineering as well as donations of food for the sausage sizzles and trophies for presentation.
Spring 1995 saw the first of our end of season presentation afternoons held at the courts and sponsored by “Sundown Pizza”. Player awards throughout the season, known as “Player of the Game” awards, were donated by Sundown Pizza. Our first chocolate drive raised $1200 and provided funds to upgrade equipment and first aid supplies in team bags. Cahill Engineering continued to be a strong supporter of the club, providing bibs for 14 teams, as were Baker’s Delight, Tooronga, who supplied all our bread needs for sausage sizzles. The newsletter also took on a new look with a leopard racing atop the banner heading. By this stage of the club’s development, there were five teams playing at Jells Park in the Monday and Wednesday night competitions.
Ashwood Netball Club became Incorporated as a club. Training moved to the Jordanville Basketball Centre. Winter fees for Juniors were $60 and Seniors $65.
1997 saw the introduction of “away” team uniforms. Our club had grown to the biggest it has ever been – 21 teams, so it was inevitable that an Ashwood team would play against another Ashwood team at some time. New uniforms were being introduced in 1998 and were the familiar black top with logo printed on the sleeve and shoulder with a black skirt. Other uniform items on offer were socks, caps, rugby tops and umbrellas. The club was in full swing with an active committee acting on behalf of its members to provide the best of everything in netball. Club spirit has always been a priority in Ashwood Netball Club and its Guiding Principles have remained unchanged since their introduction in 1993. This reflects the sound basis upon which the principles were based – good sportsmanship and respect for all those involved with the great game that is netball.
1999 brought the club to a more manageable 18 teams. It was the first year that one of our own had achieved success in netball outside the WDNA competition – Bianca Jacobs had been selected to represent Australia in Indoor netball.
2002 saw the introduction of dresses for the senior players. At the other end of the spectrum, Ashwood was becoming depleted in the Netta area – we didn’t have teams coming up through the lower Junior ranks and so a scouting party was sent out to rectify the problem. Cahill Engineering continued to be a strong supporter of the club, along with Bakers Delight, Tooronga. The first Music Trivia Night attracted 80 members and friends for a brilliant night’s entertainment and of course, trivia. It also saw the naming of the newsletter – “Cat Chat” very catchy!
2002 - 2013
The next few years saw Ashwood consolidate its functioning, expand fundraising, streamline training, focus on and improve communications with team managers and coaches while continuing to deliver professional coaching and support to the players. Our Guiding Principles continue to be cited in newsletters and club spirit is maintained through personal interaction with players, coaches, team managers, their families and committee members. In the last 12 months, the newsletter is now delivered via e-mail and sponsorship is playing a larger part in maintaining the financial status of the club. We are grateful to Andrew Herschell for introducing and pursuing this concept. Andrew Herschell also initiated and signed the heads of agreement with the Mount Waverley Cricket and Football Clubs to establish shared club rooms for Ashwood Netball Club. The club perpetual trophies are now displayed in the trophy cabinet display here. The committee meets at this venue for meetings once a month. A new uniform supplier has meant a better, smarter Junior uniform as well as a brighter dress for the seniors. The committee continues to work hard to make a great club for its players with regular reviews of training and coaching practices from which the players benefit greatly. We continue to strive to be the club that players want to belong to and who wear the uniform with pride and play with sportsmanship and respect.
The Ashwood Netball Club comes into the 21st Century with the introduction of the smartphone app ‘Team App’ which is used to improve communication between club members. As well as improved communication, a new online registrations and uniform ordering process is launched and the website is updated and enhanced.