NETBALL in the Borders took a huge step forward at the weekend with the launch of a new initiative, the Borders Developers Netball League.

The new competition is open to all Border affiliated netball clubs and endorsed by Netball Scotland.

Peebles, Earlston, Hawick, Jedburgh, Tweeddale Tigers, and Berwickshire netball clubs all took up the invite to enter Under 15 squads, with the focus on development of players, umpires and officials, rather than simply competitive action.

A total of 11 teams have entered the league, which comprises an initial tournament, followed by full length matches over the season, then a finals’ day in March.

With no two-netball court facility in the Scottish Borders, all teams had to travel outwith the Borders to Edinburgh to play their opening matches, at the Oriam sports centre.

The event on Sunday was a display of great organisation and sporting endeavour, with all teams excited to be playing on the big stage and enjoying the experience of mixing with over 100 young netballers from across the Borders.

In total 25 matches were played, all umpired by newly trained umpires, some as young as 14 years old, developed through Peebles Netball’s innovative umpire mentoring scheme.

Clubs chose which teams to enter, with Peebles Netball opting for its youngest teams in order to provide maximum challenge during the season.

The youngest team in the league were Peebles Planets, composed of Primary 7 players from four different primary schools.

The league follows a successful pilot run through last season, and looks set to expand with Gala coming on board in the next phase.