Newark Academy student Harrison Fletcher, 11, is one of the registered male's to play Netball in England.
A Newark Academy student is breaking down sporting barriers on a national scale.
Harrison Fletcher, 11, is the one of the only male netballers registered under England Netball, the sport’s governing body.
“Harrison is breaking down barriers and my wife and I support him all the way,” said Dan Fletcher, Harrison’s father.
“As a parent, you are always proud of your children, whether it’s an academic or a sporting achievement.
“If you like a sport and enjoy playing, then you should always continue with it, whether you are male or female.”
Harrison currently plays for the Bingham Bullettes, who play in the Nottinghamshire Winter And Summer Leagues, although, his journey into the sport was not as straight forward as it may seem.
Dan said Harrison’s love for netball started when he was in year four, when he was asked by a teacher to join a training session.
“He went to an after school club, which ended up being cancelled and we couldn’t pick him up at the time, so he waited for his sister (Esme), who was at netball training session,” said Dan.
“He was asked to join in and he did.
“From there he started playing for the team and became one of the better players.
“The next year (year five) he was made captain of the school team.”
Harrison’s team, Chuter Ede Primary School, were junior team of the year finalists at the Active4Today and Radio Newark 2018 Newark and Sherwood Sports Awards, having won the NDPSSA netball league, winning all ten league matches in the process.
In September of 2018, Harrison started secondary school and was no longer allowed to play netball in school competitions because of regulations that are carried out nationally, not just by the Newark Academy.
He continued to play the sport he loved and was involved in training sessions with the school’s netball team.
However, he was unable to play in competitive matches.
That was until his older sister Esme, 13, a talented netballer who plays for Notts County under-15 development squad, and the Bingham Bullettes, helped him get involved with her Bingham-based team.
“We were watching one of Esme’s Bingham matches and her team were a player short,” said Dan.
“My wife, Nichole, asked if Harrison could play.
“Both coaches agreed and subsequently, he’s now affiliated and officially signed on with the club (Bingham Bullets).”
With Harrison now playing regularly, Dan reflected on Harrison’s journey into the sport and said it is one he could not be more proud of.
“He embraces everything that comes his way,” he said.
“He is faced with a few challenges as you would expect, but, that comes with everything.
“He just shrugs it [any negative comments] off. He lets it go over his head.”
As well as netball, Harrison plays basketball for the Newark Academy, and has played rugby on occasions.
“He isn’t too concerned about football though,” said Dan.
“His true passion is with netball.”