Wearside Wildcats raring to go after new Sunderland sponsor keeps netball team in business

Debra de Luen from Club Zest is sponsoring Lucy English and the Wearside Wildcats netball team.
Debra de Luen from Club Zest is sponsoring Lucy English and the Wearside Wildcats netball team.
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WEARSIDE Wildcats are hoping for roaring success after securing a new sponsorship deal.

The women’s netball team had an uncertain future after sponsor Riley’s closed.

The pool club had financially supported the Wildcats’ five teams since they began four years ago. However, early last month a representative contacted the team to say it was unable to continue.

Wildcats’ first-team captain Jade English said the closure came without any warning.

“We got a message from Riley’s to say they were really sorry but they had to close down.

“It was out of the blue – we weren’t expecting it at all.

“They have always been good to us, so I wouldn’t want to say anything bad about them. It’s not their fault that they have had to close, but we did panic when we found out.

“They paid our league fees so we could play, and we held all our social events there.”

However, they have now secured a new deal with Club Zest Ladies Leisure, Fulwell.

“Zest came at just the right time for us,” said Jade, a public relations student at Sunderland University.

“We have struck a deal so we are getting just as much from each other – we didn’t want it to be take, take, take.”

The sponsorship means the women-only gym will pay for the clubs fees, kit, and also give them exercise classes to help with training.

Owner of Club Zest, Debra de Luen, said the deal – the first she has ever done – made sense.

“I’ve never sponsored anything before, but this is a great club.

“Like the gym, the members are a great mix of ages and they are all from the local area.

“It’s nice to see the younger kids getting involved and active.”

The Wildcats will begin training at the Seaburn Centre in September, and hope the sponsorship will secure their success.