Narrabri Netball Association’s senior and junior teams returned to the courts on Saturday for a day of grading games ahead of this weekend’s opening round.

It was a long-awaited return for the teams and their players after last year’s competition was cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, 15 senior teams will compete across two grades while in the junior competitions there are four teams in the under-9/10 division and five in the under-11-13 division. Younger players will also play in the Net (5/6-years) and Set (7-8-years) age groups.

Senior teams played two 30-minute matches on Saturday before they were split into eight A-grade teams and seven B-grade teams by the
association’s committee.

A-grade sides for 2021 include Toros, Tourist Tornados, P and P, Goal Diggers, Wee Waa Flames, Pharmacy Flamingos, Blue Diamonds and Fever.

B-grade is made up of the remaining senior sides which are Don’t Stop Ball-ieving, Vicious Delicious, The Chickies, Goss Gals, Golfie Grubs, Thunderbirds and Big Blues.

On Saturday, the first timeslot’s matches saw The Chickies edge out Big Blues 11-10, Wee Waa Flames outscore Goss Gals 19-7, Goal Diggers defeat P and P 16-7, Blue Diamonds beat Dont Stop Ball-ieving 28-2, Golfie Grubs down Vicious Delicious 6-4, Tourist Tornados defeat Toros 12-6 and Pharmacy Flamingos beat Fever 12-9.

Five of those seven winning teams then made it two from two for the day with wins in the second timeslot.

They were Blue Diamonds which beat Big Blues 18-7, Goal Diggers which downed Toros 12-8, Pharmacy Flamingoes which outscored Don’t Stop Ball-ieving 22-4, Wee Waa Flames which defeated Vicious Delicious 15-4 and Tourist Tornados which edged out Fever 15-14.

The other two matches were won by Goss Gals which downed The Chickies 15-8 and P and P which defeated Golfie Grubs 11-5.

A-grade fixtures for round one will include two matches where undefeated sides from Saturday’s grading games will play against one another.

Those fixtures will see Wee Waa Flames take on Blue Diamonds and Pharmacy Flamingos challenge Tourist Tornados.

Two of the grading day’s winless teams will also meet when Fever takes on Toros.

In the other A-grade fixture, Goal Diggers will go head-to-head with P and P.

B-grade fixtures will see Goss Gals take on Vicious Delicious, The Chickies play against Big Blues and Thunderbirds meet Don’t Stop Ball-ieving. Golfie Grubs have the round one bye.

There will also be four competitive junior matches played in round one.

In the under-11-13 division, C and W Firebirds challenge Lightning while Namoi Cotton Thunderbirds take on Swifts.Giants have the round one bye.

In the under-9/10 division, Diamonds plays Sapphires while Emeralds meet Valley Vixens.

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