Moss Vale Dragonflies began in 2008 as a way to make it easier for individuals to join up to play netball in the highlands. It has developed into a strong vibrant club that has dedicated volunteers working towards building our club and improving playing, coaching and umpiring standards across the Southern Highlands.
Why start a netball club?
We were getting many requests for girls to join the teams that we had: Mossy Mooses (Nat Bowra, coach), Mossy Mozzies (Liz Newbury, coach), Century 21 (Tash Churchill, team manager) and a ladies team (that Nat, Liz and Tash played in).
We were highly frustrated that individual children and women had no avenue to turn up and join a team. At this time you basically had to have organised a team to register with SHNA, and couldn’t just turn up and be placed in a team.
For each team two people had to turn up to all SHNA meetings. If we were a club then fewer of us would have to turn up and it would cover all four of our teams
Liz Newbury, Tash Churchill and Nat Bowra devised a plan court side. Moss Vale Dragonflies was to become the first club in the Southern Highlands Netball Association.
A meeting was held and present was: Liz, Tash and Nat, plus Jane Shirlow, Christine Thompson and Mandy Murchie. We decided on Moss Vale Dragonflies (inline with the Moss Vale Dragons football club) and determined the town colours, red and white, were right for us. Nat Bowra created the logo and a mission statement. We designed uniforms and had a local seamstress sew a few up for us. We had a launch night at the Moss Vale Golf Club -- hundreds of people attended. Natalie and Tash made speeches and Fiona Roberts and her daughter did a dance-with-ball routine showcasing our new uniform.
We expected to start the season with 5 or 6 teams, but ended up launching with 11. It was very exciting that first day of the season at Eridge Park seeing all the red and white, our new club, represented on every court and at every time slot!
Once the club began in earnest we started to focus on a better structure for all netball players. This included: organised training days (Monday afternoons at Eridge Park started); each team was allocated a coach, assistant coach, a team manager and a team kit bag; we started promoting registration days to increase participation, and organised grading days so we could build appropriate teams based on skill and age; we designed a learn-to-coach program with Nat Bowra as coaching coordinator, where we encouraged and guided high school players to coach primary school teams; we sought sponsorship which included our first major sponsor, McDonalds Sutton Forrest, who donated enough money every year for us to build a solid umpiring program. This money employed our first umpire coordinator, Brooke Quinn, where she mentored and supervised our training umpires every Saturday; we offered free umpiring programs for aspiring umpires, and we dedicated time and energy to badging our up and coming umpires to C-level. We also began MVD end-of-season awards and recognition events to acknowledge successful teams, all our umpires and coaches, and generosity of time and spirit from our parents.
Tash Churchill was the first MVD President, with Liz Newbury the first MVD Treasurer. Many other important contributions from generous parents were made in those early days including a yearly donation from Renae Lewis’ family to purchase awards and trophies for the MVD presentation events. Raye Daley also joined the committee in that first year.
The Moss Vale Dragonflies was a club that, from the very first meeting, had a wonderful cohort of parents – exceptionally enthusiastic and eager. We were never short of hands or helpers and that good and generous spirit continues to this day.