In the run up to this year’s Netball World Cup, which is set to take place from the 12 – 21 July in Liverpool, Netball NI has announced a number of new partners to bolster its international campaign.

Netball is increasing in popularity across Northern Ireland, with both participation and performance levels on the rise. The sporting body, through its appointment of new partners, aims to take its place front and centre as promoter and facilitator of this increasingly popular female sport.

At the forefront of the Northern Irish team is Geoff Wilson, the Chair of Netball NI. Wilson has overseen the team’s success, with some of the highlights including: the performances of the National Team, the introduction of social netball, online merchandise available and online club locator and registration system.

Wilson celebrated the success of the squad, and added that the new partnerships are a testament to the Netball NI’s hard work.

He commented: “It has been a massive step forward for Netball Northern Ireland to announce three renowned partners this weekend, to get to the stage of having a global company such as PwC as title sponsors of our Senior Squad is a testament to work our athletes and coaches are putting in on court and also to the team in the background who have the job of developing all the aspects of a National Governing Body; participation, volunteers, workforce, volunteers, governance, sustainability and growth.

“It’s great to see our vision and how we work has impressed these companies and they have chosen to support us. We are well aware there are lots of sports seeking sponsorship and we believe it’s a testament to our good work and strategy to push forward that has attracted and gained the confidence of our partners to support us and help us deliver our goals. We are delighted to have them on board and are immensely grateful for their support.”

The hard work on the court has largely been down to the work of Dan Ryan, the Head Coach who will lead the team into its first World Cup since his appointment in November 2018.

As the former Head Coach of the Adelaide Thunderbirds in the Suncorp Super Netball League, Ryan emphasised that it was a great honour to lead the world number eight team into the tournament.

He said: “It’s incredibly humbling to be entrusted to lead the national team and the opportunity to coach at a World Cup is a dream come true.

“For me, working with a team and organisation that shares my passion and enthusiasm for the sport is really important and I’ve been so inspired by Northern Ireland’s vision and the direction they want to head.

“I’m really optimistic about the next chapter and looking forward to seeing what we can create together.”  

The team are set to become the ‘PwC Warriors’ after it was announced that PwC Northern Ireland would become the title sponsors for the squad.

Paul Terrington, PwC NI chair, said he was moved by the team’s commitment and ambition, making it a natural fit for the firm: “We’re delighted to be working with the most successful netball team that Northern Ireland has produced, and especially during this critical World Cup year.

“This is a team driven by passion for the sport and determination to succeed, and I’m inspired by the world-class level they’ve achieved, particularly as semi-professional athletes.

“Funding issues in womens’ sport are well known, but finding solutions to important problems is PwC’s core purpose. We believe in the value of increasing diversity and inspiring the next generation to believe they can achieve great things.

“This team is a great example of what is possible, and we look forward to watching them compete against the best in the world in Liverpool this summer.”

The announcement of new partnerships comes as the group enjoys both growth within the organisation and success on the court. In addition to the PwC sponsorship, the squad are to also receive apparel sponsorship from Kukri Sports, who will provide the National Squads with bespoke sportswear.

Terry Jackson, General Manager of Kukri Sports Ireland, said: “We are delighted to be announced as the official apparel supplier to Netball NI. As a business we are looking forward to supporting the great work they do both in the community and for the sport of netball at grassroots and performance level in Northern Ireland.

“Working together to bring to life the first ever Netball NI online store has been an absolute pleasure.’’