A Sunderland sports team has hit the back of the net at a prestigious awards night.
Wearside Wildcats beat competition from across the region to be named Outstanding Netball Club of the Year in the North East at the England Netball Goalden Globe Awards, in Durham.
The team will now fly the flag for the region at the national awards ceremony, a highlight of the netballing calendar.
The club, which has a number of youth and senior squads, has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 2008.
Head coach Charlotte Rush, from Ryhope, said: “Any team in the North East could be nominated, so to be announced as winners above all those teams was great.
“Last year I won Grassroots Coach of the Year so I didn’t think we’d win an award again this year.
“It means we get to go to the nationals, which we can’t wait for.
“It’s like the Oscars of the netballing world and the England netballers are there, it’s a highlight of the annual netball calendar. It’s great because it recognises volunteers, not just the paid coaches.”
Charlotte says although there is a stigma attached to netball being a schools sport, that perception is changing.
“People used to think it was just for school pupils, but it’s really growing in the area,” she said.
“There’s great links with Northumbria University and England versus Scotland is taking place there, which is great publicity for the sport.”
The club’s various squads cater for 10-year-olds to players aged 30 and over, who train at either Whitburn Academy or Monkwearmouth School.
l Anyone interested in joining the club can email firstname.lastname@example.org.