Force remains strong in Maclean’s squad

Teamforce, from left, back: Gill Almond, Brogan Horler, Stacey Daniel, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Tash Smith. Front: Zoe Chandler, Lauren Maclean, Melissa Powell

Teamforce, from left, back: Gill Almond, Brogan Horler, Stacey Daniel, Lauren Fitzpatrick, Tash Smith. Front: Zoe Chandler, Lauren Maclean, Melissa Powell

Estee Elites shooting for goal against Delme Diamonds

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Teamforce are celebrating after a hard-fought third place in Portsmouth League premier division one.

A high finish seemed unlikely at the start of the season – when a spate of player departures led to the merging of Teamforce and Teamforce III in a bid to remain competitive at the top table.

But after some early setbacks, the new-look squad produced a string of impressive late-season performances.

And now they are confident of building on their fine finale next season.

Teamforce’s third place kept up their proud record of never finishing outside of the top four since winning promotion in 2013.

Captain Lauren Maclean said: ‘Our team had some difficult games early on – getting to know how each other played.

‘But we soon found out that many of our players were versatile.

‘In fact, Stacey Daniels may have played every position at some point – but excelled at goal-attack.

‘We have a strong core of players for the attacking, centre and defending areas of the game.

‘We are lucky to have height in our team in our defence with Tash Smith, Lauren Fitzpatrick and Jen Etherington.

‘We have speed in our centre court with Brogan Horler, Zoe Chandler and Melissa Powell.

‘And a good aim in the shooting circle with Gill Almond, Stacey Daniel and myself.

‘When we had difficulties filling the team, we were fortunate enough to recruit two extra players from Southampton – Lauren Watson and Katie Slack – who have fitted in well.

‘We play netball to have fun, enjoy each game and motivate each other, we are rarely critical.

‘We are competitive. We had some good wins towards the end, especially against Wrong Direction who we lost spectacularly to in the first game, and we finished a respectable third.’

Maclean admitted she was apprehensive about taking the reins from Kelly Brown at the start of the season.

But the skipper relished the challenge as the campaign went on.

She said: ‘I took over the captaincy as Kelly started a third team with the youngsters of the club.

‘And although I was reluctant, I’ve enjoyed organising the team and ensuring we have everything needed, including making make-shift bibs.

‘I have also had a lot of support from the other players in the team which has been great. Our umpires are Lauren Fitzpatrick and Zoe Chandler and their dedication to the team is admirable, especially in some of the weather we have experienced.’

Brown, who doubles as Teamforce’s coach, suffered a knee injury at the beginning of the season.

The club are wishing her a speedy recovery and hope to see her back on court soon.

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