Indoor sport still popular after ‘pretty tough’ lockdown
WITH a name like Not Fast Just Furious, it's pretty clear this team enjoys the social aspects of indoor netball.
However, Not Fast Just Furious typify the popularity of mixed netball being played at the Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre.
The 40 teams involved in regular Monday night competition are made up of multiple combinations, enhancing the appeal of enjoying sport together.
"Mixed netball always seems to be good because the girls want to play and then they get their boyfriends into play and then they get their mates into play,'' said centre manager Leah Ala-Outinen.
That ensures mixed netball continues to be one of the most popular indoor sports along with long-time favourite men's indoor cricket with more than 30 teams.
Leah and her husband Kevin, who own the centre at the Ipswich Showgrounds, are thrilled to see indoor sports back up and running.
The centre reopened on July 13 after being closed since March during the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown.
"It's pretty tough when you have no idea (when it could start again),'' said Leah, who also has Inflatable World operating at weekends, when allowed.
After months of uncertainty, the outlook is more positive with indoor netball, cricket and soccer competitions running again.
Mixed netball is played on Monday nights with women's netball staged on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings.
Indoor cricket and men's soccer are on Tuesday nights.
Men's indoor soccer is also played on Wednesday nights.
Thursday night features more indoor cricket.
Some representative matches are contested on Saturday nights.
As regular Ipswich competition resumes, national junior coach Leah is hoping the scheduled State Age Championships can be contested from September 19-23.
The Ipswich centre has been the state titles venue for a number of years.
Teams from around the state regularly compete in the 12, 14 and 16 year age groups, from which the latest Queensland teams are named.
The next national titles are set down for November, coronavirus permitting.
Leah said safety practices were in place at the Ipswich Indoor Sports Centre, including hand sanitiser, social distancing plans and regular cleaning.
"Everyone is coming along and abiding by all our rules, which is good,'' she said.
"Everyone has been hibernating for three months, they just want to come out and play.
"We just want to keep doing what we are doing.''