AS the Vitality Netball World Cup progresses in Liverpool, more women are expected to be inspired to give the sport a try in Warrington.

Netball is doing wonders for the health, fitness and social lives of so many women across the town, including a large number who had not played the sport since their school days.

Devoted and highly respected coach Yvonne Sampson, who owns the business Complete Netball Solutions, runs ‘back to netball’ and ‘walking netball’ sessions across the area because she believes in the sport being accessible to people of all ages and abilities.

She is inspired herself, every day, by the netballers, some of whom have overcome huge hurdles in their lives with the help of the sport.

For some, netball is their lifeblood, it enriches their weeks, months and years beyond most people’s expectations.

Players like Alison Molphy, 60, a retired nurse who lives in Orford.

“She had a stroke 18 months ago and has had to gently come back into the sport she loves,” said Yvonne.

“Alison joined the ‘walking netball’ at the Orford hub over six months ago and then joined the ‘back to netball’ sessions at the Great Sankey hub a few months ago.

Warrington Guardian:

Alison Molphy

“What’s now remarkable is that she has started playing for the newest back to netball team Warrington Roses. Go Alison, you are a true inspiration!”

Here’s more women telling their netball stories:

Anna Whitfield, 51, from Orford, an area manager for a housing organisation:

“I had played netball most of my life, it was something that I could do that was just for me,” she said.

“When my dad died suddenly in 2006 I spiralled into a deep depression, and struggled with addiction problems for the next five years.

“In 2010 I was diagnosed with breast cancer; and the next two years was spent overcoming a double mastectomy and enduring scans every three months.

Warrington Guardian:

Anna Whitfield, fourth from left

“In 2012 one of these scans revealed I had a brain tumour, and was told my condition was terminal.

“I had the tumour removed and analysed and thankfully it wasn’t secondary cancer, I had been given another chance at life!

“It wasn’t easy. My self confidence and self esteem were in tatters and it took me another three years to get back to what I loved, netball.

“I started at a ‘back to netball’ group and so began my journey of recovery and enjoying life.

“It was a great way to meet friends old and new, develop my fitness level and do something that was just for me!

“I now find myself playing four or five matches a week and despite the odd aching bones wouldn’t change it for the world.

“I’m now in remission and would not have the fitness (or social life) that I have now if I hadn’t started at the ‘back to netball’.”

Sue Kilkenny, 54, office worker:

“I started playing at the beginning of November, 2018,” she said.

“I had started Slimming World at the end of July and had been making good progress and had lost around three-and-half stone.

“I had been doing some power walking to help with the weight loss, went out walking my dog, but my daughter who is 25 asked me to come along to ‘back to netball’ as she knew how much I loved sport, especially netball.

“I was apprehensive, but bit the bullet and went. I so enjoyed it and have now lost 6st 4lbs in 49 weeks.

Warrington Guardian:

Sue Kilkenny

“Netball has become a way of life for me now - something I never thought I would ever be doing at my age, but the ladies at our club are of all ages and as we play for fun, it makes our bond even more special.

“Some of us attend other ‘back to netball’ sessions in our area and me and my daughter Amie now play four times a week.

“I am also promoting netball to the ladies at my Slimming World class and I have encouraged two ladies to join us up to now to help with their weight loss. They are doing brilliantly and are losing weight more quickly too.”

Nicola Burrows, 42, teacher:

“I was diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer in May, 2016, after finding a pea size lump in my left breast. I was 39.

“I underwent a series of treatments including an operation, six rounds of chemotherapy and 22 daily sessions of radiotherapy.

“I lost my fitness and my identity really, losing my hair.

Warrington Guardian:

Nicola Burows, third from left on back row

“Once I began to recover I started jogging to try and improve my fitness again, but it’s a lonely activity so I decided to try netball.

“One thing my cancer journey has done is opened my eyes to life and encouraged me to love every minute.

“I encourage my own children to play team sports so felt I should lead by example.

“I love the social side of playing netball and love being a little competitive.

“I have made new friends and love the camaraderie my team has! It’s helped me to feel my old self again.”

Vicky Williams, 38, Great Sankey, former marketing executive for Bentley who now looks after her child with special needs:

“My family relocated to Warrington last October to be closer to my husband’s mum and stepdad (who live in Knutsford), and having spent most of our lives in Milton Keynes, it was time for a new adventure!

“I didn’t know anyone in Warrington and as my disabled son’s carer, I don’t have the opportunity to meet people through work.

“I was keen to make friends and wanted Warrington to feel like home, so we signed up to David Lloyd.

“I pretty much had a go at every class on their timetable, and was especially keen to try their ‘walking netball’ session because I used to play before having children.

“Unbeknown to me the class was mainly populated by the club’s ‘Nifty-Fifty’ group, but despite being only in my 30s – I was welcomed with open arms.

Warrington Guardian:

Vicky Williams, second from left, with teamates

“My first session, I can just remember laughing lots, how friendly everyone was, and soon remembered the joy I got from playing netball.

“This group is where I met Yvonne Sampson of Complete Netball Solutions (the class coach), who encouraged me to also try the faster paced ‘back to netball’ sessions at Sankey Neighbourhood Hub.

“This is where I met my current team and our sister team the ‘Ginettes’ and ‘DarkStars’.

“These ladies - of all ages, and from all walks of life - are the most fabulous, kind, supportive and fun-loving group that I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

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“We’ve been playing together for over six months now, and I can honestly say I’m having the best time – and playing netball is only a small part of it!

“So far, we’ve done Disco-Bingo together, gone to the theatre, raised money for charity by completing a mud-run, had a spa party and been glamping.

“Because of netball, I’m over a stone lighter, got my 5k run down to 25 minutes, I’m jumping higher, smiling brighter and made friends for life.

“I still go to ‘walking netball’ too, not because I need the exercise, but because the enjoyment I get from sharing the love of netball with another group of wonderful ladies.

“I feel so lucky to have made all these awesome new friends and I’m so proud to be called a ‘Ginette’.

To give netball a try, text Yvonne Sampson on 07980 713263 for more information