Game, Net and Match – Result

I've never before watched a film I've made with all the contributors in the room. So when BBC Scotland offered to host a screening of our documentary Game, Net and Match and invite the entire Scottish netball squad, coaches and governing body, I confess to some trepidation. Heirloom had been commissioned by the BBC to follow Scotland's netball team over the two years leading up to the Commonwealth Games. It's an amateur sport here, so the Thistles are ever the plucky underdogs - a squad of policewomen, dentists, teachers and students who play in their spare time. At the Games they would have to take on the top professional teams in the world - a great story waiting to be told. Yet when we started filming back in August 2012, even we ourselves didn't anticipate the drama that lay ahead. A trip to the South Pacific to capture Scotland's first win in nearly two years. The departure of the national coach - and the search for a new one with just months to the Games. Injuries and weddings. Selections and rejections. These were the pivotal moments in the story we agonised over in the cutting room. Yet what drew the strongest reaction from our guests at the screening wasn't seeing a glorious win, a gutting loss or a kick-up-the-proverbial from the new coach. It was the day the team had been photographed modelling the wares of their first commercial sponsors, taking to the netball court clad in... sports bras. They'd all forgotten this long-past filming day - and the moment when bare midriffs were displayed on national TV prompted the sharpest gasps and shrieks of the day! Though watching our film unfold in the company of the remarkable women who had become our on-screen 'stars' was rather terrifying, it was also a great privilege. Over two years, we witnessed this gutsy Scottish squad transform their own fortunes, climb the international table and finish the Games two places higher than their world ranking - having also, against the odds, qualified for the World Cup in Sydney next year. They were - and remain - an inspiration.  It takes a lot of trust on both sides to make a film like this one. For us, the stakes were high - our first independent commission for the BBC. It must also have felt hugely risky for the netball community, placing their story in our hands. By the end of the film, emotions on screen were running high - and no less so in the room. I gave up trying to suppress the big lump in my throat when I glanced around our audience and saw that many had already succumbed. A moment that will long remain with me.