The Portugal News spoke with Susanne Spivey, Margaret Coleman and Beccy Pemble, who have been working hard to put Netball on the map They have their sights set on Portugal being recognised as an emerging netball-playing country in Europe, potentially establishing a national team.
Silver Coast Sirens Netball Club
Silver Coast Sirens Netball Club in Óbidos was set up in 2018 by Club Founder, Susanne Spivey. Now assisted by a full Committee, the club is going from strength to strength.
The club welcomes new and players who have not played since school, with ladies ranging in age from 18 to 73, with around 50 members playing regularly.
They have recently moved to an indoor court where they have a fully marked sprung court, netball posts and great facilities.
Susanne has lived in Portugal for the past seven years. Having played netball back in Brighton, she set up a successful club in a tiny village encouraging ladies to get back into women’s sport.
“When I came to Portugal, I really missed netball, so I put out a post on Facebook to see if anyone else would be interested…. and loads of people wanted to play. I think we really lack women’s team sports here in Portugal, especially for more mature ladies.”
Beccy Pemble joined the Silver Coast Sirens a year ago, where she explained that “I haven’t played netball since school, and as the team has grown, Susanne was trying to get a committee together so I have taken on Social Media, where I have been trying to grow our club by communicating the diversity of our team.”
Leões Netball Sotavento Club
Margaret Coleman had been coming to Portugal for 25 years, initially to play golf and has lived in Tavira for 10 years. Margaret shared, “I come from a sports background and I played netball for many years. In the UK I realised I really missed Netball following school, so I put an advert in our local paper…. We were inundated and it resulted in the setting up of a local netball league called Oldham Sports and I went on to train to be a coach.”
Adding that “Last year I decided to get back into it and I put a Facebook post out there and it just went bonkers. There were so many people who wanted to dust their trainers off and give it a go, so we set up the team and we were kindly supported by Leões F C Tavira and Cristiano Gunners, the Club President, who has worked hard to provide us with our court and facilities in Cabanas.”
The 1st Portugal-Only Tournament
Susanne explained that “In 2021, we became aware of Margaret’s team and we made contact. This led to setting up the first-ever Portugal-only tournament which was held at Browns Sports Resort in Vilamoura. With 7 teams across 4 clubs, it was both a walking and running tournament and was a huge success to the point that we plan to make it a yearly event. This fantastic tournament was sponsored by Mermaid Estate Sales and Rentals and included the Silver Coast Sirens, Lagos Fireballs, Leões of Tavira and Cabanas as well as Browns.” With Margaret adding, “With this becoming an annual event we’d love to encourage more teams to set up. Recognition from local councils would also help to further the game in Portugal.”
Thinking of Joining?
There is an abundance of benefits to playing netball and both friendly clubs’ welcome members from all backgrounds. Susanne affirmed that “netball can be a really fast and furious game but it is very tactical, so there is the option of running or walking games, which means ladies can play at any level even if your fitness is not so great. Alternatively, you can join as a social member and we have many other areas you can be involved in as well as social events where everyone is invited.”
Margaret went on to explain “The social side of our clubs is great for mental health and we have found that ladies meet new people in their community and do other activities together. These people would never have met if they had not connected through this group. Every person is an important member whether they are playing or not, so for us it has been fantastic.”
Margaret told The Portugal News “Netball Europe would like Leoas Netball Sotavento Club and Silver Coast Sirens Netball Club to join together to form Netball Portugal so that we can take the game here to the next stage. It would be great if we could create an interest with all the Câmaras across Portugal, that could provide indoor spaces. Between Susanne and I there is a wealth of experience of playing the game and setting up clubs, so we’d really like to help get more clubs off the ground across Portugal.” Netball Portugal is now well on the way and we hope to be established and recognised as an emerging nation by Netball Europe very soon.
Susanne and Margaret will gladly guide any teams interested in setting up across Portugal, should you need their support please do reach out to them as they would love to get other clubs going in other areas of Portugal. Facebook / Instagram search for Silver Coast Netball or East Algarve Netball to find out more or to get in touch directly with Susanne Spivey for the Silver Coast at 351+ 925 762 652 or Margaret Coleman for the Algarve on +44 796 740 7713
Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.