Downs are on the up

South Downs College, from left: Laura North, Jenny Baker, Della Dobinson, Gemma Joyce, Carol Iggleden, Katie Richardson, Victoria Leslie and Julie Flippence. Not pictured: Claire Hooper, Nikki Simmons and Rebecca Warke
South Downs College, from left: Laura North, Jenny Baker, Della Dobinson, Gemma Joyce, Carol Iggleden, Katie Richardson, Victoria Leslie and Julie Flippence. Not pictured: Claire Hooper, Nikki Simmons and Rebecca Warke
Vixens finished second in the All About Netball League

Dramatic finish to league season

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Carol Iggleden insists her South Downs College outfit will remain true to their roots despite a speedy rise up the Portsmouth League ladder.

The sports lecturer has handed out a few lessons to rival outfits since she founded the team in 2009.

After starting out in division six, the side have quickly powered their way up to division three.

But while the club has attracted a few new faces to their ranks, Iggleden is determined to uphold her original mantra.

The team was formed to offer a fun way to keep fit – and that is how it will always be.

‘We trained for a few months before we even contemplated our first game,’ explained Iggleden.

‘It was – and has always been – about raising fitness levels and having fun.’

Regardless, South Downs’ rise up the ranks has been impressive.

Back at the start, Iggleden spotted a niche to improve fitness opportunties for staff at the Waterlooville college.

Her posters around the college drew an encouraging response.

And soon she had gathered together an enthusiastic group, who were keen to relive the nostalgia of their school netball fixtures but were not quite ready for a game.

Iggleden kicked things off with a few training sessions and, once team confidence was at a high, South Downs College netball team embarked on a few friendlies before jumping in at the deep end and registering with Portsmouth Netball Association.

The team, of mixed ability, began life in division six, with Iggleden and Claire Hooper sharing the umpire duties.

For many it had been over 10 years since they had last been on the court – but training every week in the college sports hall saw them improve dramatically.

They celebrated promotion to division five in their first season and so their ascent began.

Now, three years later, the team has undergone many changes.

Though retaining all of its original players, many have taken a break to start families – which has led to an increasing band of supporters.

South Downs has welcomed many talented members into the ranks and is currently going from strength to strength. After another recent promotion they are enjoying the challenges of division three – currently sitting fourth with two games in hand. An exceptionally strong defence is led by Iggleden and Laura North.

Skilled shooters Jenny Baker and Julie Flippence spearhead the attack, with a reliable midfield holding it all together.

All in all, South Downs are proving a winning combination.