Support through Sport UK's Rhian Turnbull and Claire Allen took the Friars JMs Netball Team (a team of girls with learning disabilities) to see Loughborough Lightning take on the Yorkshire Jets. The girls came away inspired, as Claire and Rhian report ...
 
On Monday 9th March, the Friars JMs Netball Team travelled to Loughborough University to watch the Loughborough Lightning Netball Team take on the Yorkshire Jets.
 
Friars JMs is a netball team based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, for girls with learning disabilities. It's made up of girls from Wellingborough and the surrounding area, and includes many pupils from Friars Academy. The team is run by Support through Sport UK's Rhian Turnbull.
 
The pupils from Friars Academy are also members of the school's Girls' Club. The weekly Girls' Club gives its members the opportunity to take part in a range of sporting activities; the aims being to have fun, keep fit and healthy and learn more about sport. The Girls' Club members have all been very inspired by Sport England's ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. Therefore, to further inspire the girls, Rhian, myself and a few other teachers took them to Loughborough University so that they could see some top-flight, live netball and also meet some of the players.
 
Before the game started, Loughborough's Lauren Steadman met all the girls and encouraged them to cheer loudly!
 
The game was incredibly fast-paced, both teams fighting hard for control of the ball. Unfortunately for the Loughborough Lightnings, the Jets' Goal Shooter, 6' 6" Lottysha Cato, was on target at every opportunity - leading the Jets to a 65-56 win.
 
After the game, the Loughborough Lightnings were very generous with their time, posing for a group photo and signing autographs for the girls.
 
Before heading home, we asked the Friars JMs girls what they thought of the match ...
 
Did you enjoy watching the match?
 
'It was brilliant.'
'There was really good sportsmanship.'
'There were no arguments, the players just got on with the match.'
'They were so organised, calling for balls and finding space.'
 
Has watching the match inspired you to play more netball?
 
'Definitely, yes.'
'We play a lot already but definitely want to play more now.'
'It has made me want to join a club.'
 
How has watching talented and successful female athletes made you feel?
 
'Really inspired.
'It was fun and enjoyable, they are real role models.'
 
Do you think it’s important to have sporty female role models?
 
'It is so important.'
'They inspire me to get more involved.'
They are an inspiration to me and encourage me to do more and be better.'
 
Is there anything else you would like to say about your evening?
 
'It was an excellent trip, really enjoyable and so much fun - I want to come to more netball games in the future.'