THEY came from far and wide to compete for glory.
Big hitters from across the south converged on Gosport for the GFNA Junior League’s first big open tournament.
The standard of netball reflected the quality of clubs on show.
And there was a strong local flavour, with a clutch of diamonds unearthed in the form of a team from Gosport.
The dazzling Gosport Borough Diamonds reached the finals and threatened to pick up the winner’s trophy.
GFNA Junior League chairperson and tournament organiser Kelly Hayward said: ‘It was great to welcome some of the biggest junior clubs to our tournament.
‘We had teams from Poole, Canford (Bournemouth), BUGS (Basingstoke), CD Phoenix (Crawley), Surrey Heath, Swan Centre and Western Park Blades (Southampton),’
Six Gosport league teams were among those chasing glory.
Gosport Borough Stars, Just Ahead and Gosport Borough Diamonds competed in the under-12s, under-13s and under-14s respectively.
And competing in the under-16s were Fareham Fireflys Lime, Fareham Fireflys White and Team Gosport & Fareham, the Hampshire Junior League side made up of players from Gosport Borough, Gosport Gators and Fareham Fireflys.
‘Gosport Borough Diamonds did fantastically well, only narrowly missing out on picking up the winner’s trophy,’ added Hayward.
‘It was great to see our girls competing against some of the biggest and best junior clubs around.
‘It showed just how far we have come as a league, with teams having some great results during the day.
‘It also showed the teams things that could be improved and I hope we can get regular competition from outside the league to help the Gosport girls continue to grow.’
And Hayward is hoping this open tournament can become a regular fixture each autumn.
‘I had some fantastic feedback from the visiting clubs who have said they will return, so next year I hope to make it bigger and better,’ said the tournament organiser.
‘I would like more of our league teams to enter.
‘It’s a great opportunity to gain experience of playing clubs from outside the league.
‘I have been running tournaments for about five years now but this one was different.
‘It took a lot of hard work but the outcome was the most rewarding!
‘I really couldn’t do it without the help of Jo Glenn, Jannene Taylor, Sarah Cooper and the Gosport Borough mums.’
The next junior tournament organised by the league will be the versatility in the summer.