City of Portsmouth showed their grit as they just missed out on UK Women’s League promotion in Bedford.
City’s depleted squad dug deep on their last outing to take third spot overall in division two.
Bronwin Carter’s squad were again hit by injury and illness which tested her outfit to the limit, as they finished sixth on Saturday.
Carter is now targeting promotion next season after seeing the team just miss out – despite their problems.
Katy Watts and Karrie Blake were the two winners for City on the day.
Watts was victorious in the javelin, while Blake picked up a success in the 400m B string.
That didn’t tell the story of how the side grafted to their result, however.
With Tracy Burrows and Mandy Gault both sidelined by illness on the eve of the event, the team’s numbers took a hit.
And things got worse when captain Sam Vaile injured her foot in the early rounds of the long jump, leaving her ruled out of action.
City rallied around, however, to eke out the points that booked their third-place finish overall.
Irish Sirmons and Suzie Wise grafted their way to personal bests in the hammer.
The all-for-one spirit on show was summed up by the likes of Louise Douglass, who competed in a whole host of events for her side to keep the points coming.
Carter had praise for her team’s resolve. She feels they can use their efforts this season as a trampoline to shoot themselves towards promotion.
The manager believes that’s a realistic ambition for next season’s campaign.
‘We have to be delighted with our efforts,’ said Carter.
‘To finish third with all the problems we had was great.
‘Two of our athletes were really ill and then Sam popped her foot in the long jump.
‘We had to improvise but, bless them, they really did that.
‘The opposition were tough and we were hard-pressed.
‘But we kept plugging away and filled every single gap. That’s how we picked up our points.
‘We would have done well not to get relegated with everything we had to live with. So to just miss out on promotion was pleasing.
‘Every girl has given it their all and people filled in all over the place.
‘There is a great camaraderie in the team.
‘I think if we could have got a full team out for even one match it could have tipped it in our balance.
‘But, next season, I really think we can be pushing for promotion.’
Carter stepped into the manager’s hot seat for City’s women for the first time this season.
She admitted this year has been a learning curve for her – but it’s a process she has enjoyed.
Now Carter is looking to add depth to the team to allow them to get a consistently-strong side out.
She said: ‘It’s been my first year as manager and it’s been enjoyable.
‘Next year we need more strength in depth.
‘If we are to move forward and push for the Premier League that is what is needed.’