WITH little fanfare, netball has become the UK’s number one female participation sport, with 1.4 million now playing at some point in a typical season, according to England Netball.

The Super League is now screened on Sky Sports, and this July Liverpool plays host to the Netball World Cup.

So what is it about this sport that has so many women involved? Action Netball, based at the Reynolds Sports Centre, Gunnersbury Lane, offers some clues.

Sonia Hobbs, founder and director of a marketing consultancy, is a part-time coach from Ealing. She has two children, Jack, 18, and Mia, 13, and plays in both the ladies and mixed grade leagues at Action Netball.

“When I was at school I had limited access to playing netball,” she said. “Basketball with the boys was more the order of the day. Once I got to uni, I jumped at the opportunity to play socially but, as is the case with so many young women, once I graduated the sport fell off my radar.

READ MORE: Trailfinders link with West London College to form Academy

READ MORE: Take That live on the big screen in Acton for one night

“Four years ago, a friend and I decided to head to the courts at Lammas Park, slightly nervous after 20 years away from the sport, with technical skills forgotten and fitness levels somewhat diminished!

“After a few months, our netball skills had improved so we decided to form a mums’ Back to Netball team. In our first match, the scoreline wasn’t very flattering, but we really enjoyed playing together and we persevered.

“Before we knew it, we had gone from being the new kids on the block to league champions in possession of the cup! We now play in one of the most competitive leagues in West London on a Thursday.

“We have even started our very own academy and some of the mums have now encouraged their daughters to play with us on a Thursday.

“More women need to get back into team sport. Let's bring about change.”