Curry helps Cook turn up the heat

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Vixens finished second in the All About Netball League

Dramatic finish to league season

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Shooting Stars IV have wasted no time in making their mark on the Portsmouth League.

The team, put together by Jane Jewell and Arty Shaw, joined the competition last year.

And they are already celebrating glory after netting the division three crown.

Under skipper Donna Cook – and vice captain Alison Rooney – they narrowly missed out on promotion in their maiden season.

A combination of injuries and players still gelling with one another cost them dear in their debut campaign.

And there were fears they would lose out again as they began last term with consecutive defeats.

However, head coach Jewell came to the rescue – shoring up the defence with Georgie Pick and Michelle Curry.

Since then the duo have been outstanding, making it difficult for opposition attackers to get into the circle.

Their influence has been highlighted by the team’s stunning goal difference as Stars follow in the footsteps of their higher-ranked club-mates.

Captain Cook and Sam Parker take it in turns to umpire every week and, while Kim Lewis missed the past season, Stars hope to have her back in their ranks for the challenge of division two.

It is a leap the side are relishing – and although they are not expecting an easy ride, the talents have the backing of the senior members of the club.

Cook said: ‘The standard of the league has improved.

‘We are hoping we can start the new season where we left off but are very aware the higher we climb, the tougher the games will get.

‘With the team of girls I have, I’m confident we will hold our own.

‘And with Shooting Stars running five teams in the Portsmouth League, we receive super training and support at all times from Arty and Jane.

‘We are proud to be a team belonging to the club.’

The skipper admitted the arrival of Curry and Pick were important factors in their promotion bid.

However, she was quick to praise the rest of her team for their commitment to the cause.

Cook said: ‘The girls are great and we not only play to win but we have a great time doing it.

‘Apart from our first two games at the start of the season, we have not lost any other matches and we have recorded some huge scorelines.

‘We have a strong defence that works well together and we can always count on them to back up the attack.

‘Court players Natalie March and Anna Tooke give 100 per cent every week and they link up well with Sam (Parker) who play’s centre.

‘She always plays her heart out – as well as being strong and verbal with her encouragement.

‘We are lucky as a team to have the choice of three shooters, with Alison (Rooney), Alice Hunter and myself. 

‘Whatever the combination we gel quickly and the movement in the circle at times is impressive to watch.

‘But even if you know you have made a mistake – the rest of the team is still behind you regardless of the banter.’