Summer League 2020 Update

Earlier this week the Committee met via video conferencing to discuss the way forward for the league during the current pandemic.  

Although there are indications that the measures put in place by the government have been successful in slowing down the spread of the virus, it is a mixed and inconsistent picture and we are only too aware that any adjustments to the current measures may risk a second peak of infections.
Our main priority is, of course, to keep everyone safe – players, officials and volunteers alike. We therefore agreed that given the Government’s stance on the current corona virus outbreak and how the picture looks for the foreseeable future in terms of social distancing, sadly, we are unable to see a way in which we can run the league this year.

It is hoped that our decision will also help to support other local leagues who, at some point, need to complete their remaining winter season matches.
If you have already paid your entry fee, please contact Eileen Blocksidge – Treasurer, with your bank details and she will arrange to reimburse you within the next week or so.  Her email address is : 
Hopefully we will be back on court for summer netball next year but in the meantime the committee wish you and your families all the best and trust that you will keep well and stay safe.

Interested in Umpiring?

The Dudley Netball League are seeking expressions of interest for attendance to an Into Officiating Umpire Course.

The course will run during their Summer Season, date to be confirmed on receipt of appropriate levels of interest.

Please read – Umpires 2019

Dudley Netball league have, over previous seasons, fulfilled the task of sourcing and gaining commitment from umpires, to allocate to league games, on behalf of the teams that participate in the league.

This has always been a service that sets us apart from other leagues within the area, and the Committee would like to continue with this team support.  However, we are finding it increasing difficult to source umpires that are willing to commit their time during the Summer Season.

Many clubs have not provided umpires to our umpiring Secretary, and where names have been provided some umpires cannot commit.

We now find ourselves in the position of having to choose:
1.  Teams nominate their umpires (like other leagues)
2. Games are cancelled on a regular basis, and we are unable to schedule the number of rearrangements (we only have 14 playing weeks)
3. The league becomes unsustainable and we are unable to continue

Please help us to continue helping you, let us know if you know umpires that could help and nominate willing umpires from your club as we cannot play without the officials.

Frederick Philip Groves 14th January 1942 – 16th November 2018

It is with great sadness that we write this tribute to a well respected man and honorary life-long member of the league.

Phil, as he was always known, lived in Dudley and attended St. Thomas’s primary school, later going on to Dudley Grammar School.  He lost his own father when aged 11 and it was then that Phil’s sense of family and responsibility kicked in.  He had the opportunity to go to university but chose instead to leave school at the age of 15 to help support his Mum.

He had several jobs before going on to Steel Parts where a young Christine Marsh came to work in the accounts office; they started dating and were married on 26th April 1969 at St. Francis’s Church.  The new Mr & Mrs Groves settled down to married life and Phil cheered Chris on with her netballing.  She then joined Grasshoppers Netball Club and in the early days they did a lot of touring all over the country, not just days but weekends as well, and yes, Phil was there to help out with the driving and became a fatherly figure looking after the player’s children.

When Chris became Chairman of the league he continued to offer his support when needed.  Phil helped out as scorer at the end of season tournaments, held in July and September; sitting quietly as the match cards came in and doing the analysis.  He took a very responsible job off the committee so that they could concentrate on other duties to make the events a success.  The lower division’s tournament in July always coincided with the men’s tennis final at Wimbledon; Phil loved tennis and used to bring along a portable television so we could keep in touch with the match.  He continued to be very supportive to Joyce Smailes, who was Chris’s successor when she stepped down from the Chairman’s role.

His number one priority was always to look after his family; he enjoyed being Dad to Becky and encouraged her interests, taking her twice a week to the Dell for athletics; he was persuaded to become more involved in the athletics club until he found himself as the announcer at some of the local meetings.  They also went to Cradley to watch speedway and when that closed, they drove every weekend to either the Stoke or Wolverhampton meetings.

He and Chris enjoyed their National Trust membership to the full, planning holidays around visits to stately homes and beautiful parkland.  Phil loved to be outdoors, whether out for long walks with the family or out in the garden, either digging, nurturing his beautiful orchids or watching the birds and crossing them off on his RSPB bird count.

In later years he became a Grandad and when he retired aged 65, this gave him the opportunity to help out with his two grandsons, he absolutely loved spending time with them; to Freddie and Lawson he was a hero, an explorer and a best friend.

Phil passed away at home with his family by his side.

On behalf of all who knew him, thank you Phil for being the kind of man that everyone loves, such a nice gentleman; always trying to do things for others and putting them first.

RIP Phil.


The nominations for the West Midlands Goalden Globes have been released this week and it is wonderful to see so many people associated with the Dudley Netball League nominated, not least our very own Chair and Vice-Chair Women, Sally-Ann Chambers and Jo Steventon. Other nominations include Diane Barber, Sarah Brown, Hannah Williams, Rob Tozer and Ryland and Libra Lea Netball Clubs. Congratulations and Good Luck to you all!

Goalden GLobes 2018

Gold Coast To Dudley Netball League – Commonwealth Gold At Grassroots Netball

We were proud to welcome England netball assistant coach Colette Thompson, who was supporting her club Linden at a local league game on Monday evening. Fantastic to see the support for grassroots by a member of the commonwealth gold medal winning team.
Massive admiration and respect to Colette for her continued support and work across all levels of netball, and assisting in bringing that GOLD home!

West Midlands Regional Update

There has also been success at Regional Level for clubs who are involved in the Dudley Netball League. Dudley Leisure had success in winning Division 1 and Grasshoppers have got into Division 3. Congratulations all round!


smiley-crossing-fingersCongratulations to Sally Ann Chambers for winning the Grass Roots Coach Award at the West Midlands Goalden Globe Awards on 30th June 2017.

Congratulations also go to Midrange Netball Club who won the Outstanding Netball Club award at the same event.
Both Sally and Midrange will now go on to represent the West Midlands at the National Awards – Good Luck from us all at Dudley Netball!

Sally Ann Chambers – Congratulations!

sallyA BIG congratulations from all at Dudley Netball League to Sally-Ann Chambers, who was recently awarded Coach of the Year at the 2016 Black Country Sport and Physical Activity Awards and was shortlisted for the West Midlands Coach of the Year in November 2016.

As well as being our Chair, Sally is a member of Midrange Netball Club in Dudley.  She coaches the junior section including U14, U12 and U8 girls. She is an excellent role model and inspiration, working hard at all that she takes on and inspiring people to both play and coach the sport that we love.

“I believe that everybody should be given the opportunity to do sport, and be given time to find their passion and love for a sport”  Sally Ann Chambers

Tribute to Chris Groves

IMG_1731Where do you start with background information on our guest this evening?  Chris Groves has been actively involved with netball for what must seem like all of her life, in various roles.
After attending Dudley Girls High School and playing netball there, she moved onto Dudley College where she started her senior netball, playing for one of the college teams run by Jackie Royall.  The team then became Dudley Wasps; she later moved clubs to join Grasshoppers, and was immediately put into the 1st team as a defender, where she played for a number of years.  She was part of the Grasshoppers squad that won many awards:

  • Birmingham league Division 1 – 3 years
  • Dudley League Division 1 – 6 years
  • Isle of Wight Tournament winners, and the Gateshead tournament winners, to name a few.

As the club expanded, she took on the role as Treasurer.

Chris also played for South Staffordshire County, and after retiring from playing she took on the role of coach, coaching different age groups within the County structure, and was honoured to be asked to coach the 1st senior team.  She did this with great success.  In recent years she was presented with her England long service award for over 25 years’ service to South Staffordshire County.

In her profession she worked in the statistics office of CEGB Tipton until they closed down and then she moved to Metsec as Payroll Manager, where she is still working.  This experience led her to being invited to join the Dudley netball committee as Treasurer.

In 1983, Chris took on the role as Chairman, the committee knew then, that she was the right person to steer the league forward, and that they would be in safe hands.  Speaking with the committee members from that time, they have all stated that Chris was extremely focussed in her duties as Chair person, and she excelled in the promotion of the league.  One recollection was her involvement in organising a demonstration game against the England Netball team of the time, in 1985.  A lot of hard work and dedication went into arranging player accommodation, the attendance of local dignitaries, and the general organisation of such a prestigious event.

When Chris took on coaching Dudley Leisure Netball Club, it was a great success.  Over the years the club have had up to 6 teams participating, including their junior development squads, and have had the honour of having young internationals coming through – Laura Malcolm, Caroline Tarnowski and Rebecca Tildesley, to name a few.

Dudley Leisure is not only renowned within this league, but also within the regional and premier leagues.  Chris has provided inspiration and innovation to the club for over 30 years, and has dedicated her time to ensuring that the club has remained at the forefront of netball within this area.

Now that she has retired, she will be missed, and was greatly missed over the summer.  It was strange to not have her pop into the hut and have a chat between rounds, or be there to offer words of wisdom to us during the season.

She may come across as being ‘a bit scary’, but she has a heart of gold, a wicked sense of humour and is definitely one of the kindest people I know.  Her dedication, commitment and love of the game are insurmountable.

We must mention Phil, Chris’s husband, who has supported her through her netball career.  They are now enjoying grandparenthood, and spending time with Freddie their grandson.

So, Happy retirement Chris; wishing you good health from the committee and all of the Dudley League members.