Just Ahead raising ambitions

The Just Ahead team
The Just Ahead team
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They may be big hitters in England Premier League three but Portsmouth side Just Ahead are aiming for an even higher profile.

The side currently sit third in the league table following a fantastic start to their season.

Wins against Essex Open (50-30), Comets (41-29), Dominoes (39-34) and Lawn (41-27), plus a 30-30 draw with Sussex Thunder, gave Just Ahead a near perfect start to their campaign.

A first defeat of the season against Poole last weekend is the only blot on their copybook to date.

The girls’ competitiveness at this level is huge credit to the team, with everyone standing out as they bid to secure promotion to Premier League two.

Julie Osborne and Louise Beames have been the driving force behind their good, fast netball, while recent additions – Georgie Sims and Becky Newstead – have settled quickly into the Just Ahead rhythm.

Captain Hayley Skinner and Verity Beckett have the experience in mid-court to drive the team forward – and although only in her early 20s, Chloe Spong plays like a seasoned campaigner.

With results and players of that standing making for an already impressive season, it all appears to be going right on court for Just Ahead.

But according to coach Josie Skinner, more can be done to promote the club and build on it’s success.

‘We have been established for 25 years next year and over these years we have stepped up to the next level whenever we have been given the opportunity,’ said Skinner.

‘To now be in the prestigious premiership, it’s the icing on the cake.

‘We have worked hard to achieve our successes.

‘However, we do feel we need to promote ourselves more, as some people do not know who we are.’

Skinner admitted the foundations were already in place to help Just Ahead make the next step up the ladder.

She said: ‘We are a very successful netball club in Portsmouth.

‘We’re playing at the highest level with an established junior side, where our philosophy is to train our young players within our club to become future stars and to develop their talent.

‘We work hard on grass roots and will be running workshops in the near future.

‘We also compete in the local Portsmouth junior and adult leagues where we achieve great results week in, week out.

‘We feel we have an advantage by having so many talented players within the open squad playing at such a high level and with so much experience.

‘We have utilised this by giving the junior players opportunities to train with the open squad and be coached by them.

‘This gives our young players an insight into what is needed to achieve their goals. They also have ready-made, positive role models.

‘Therefore, the natural progression for a talented junior player is to move into the open squad’s development and train every week with them.’

If you are interested in being part of Just Ahead, you can log on to Facebook or pop in to either of the club’s two training venues (Crookhorn Sports Centre, Waterlooville, or Portsmouth High School) to pick up an entry form.

The club train at Crookhorn on Thursdays (6.30pm – 8.30pm) and at the high school on Wednesdays (6.15pm – 7.15pm).

The club are also holding a fundraising evening on Friday, November 25, from 7pm at Moneyfields Social Club.

This is to raise funds for their upcoming season, to cover entry, travelling, officiating and accommodation costs.

Tickets are £5 and available from any Just Ahead player or coach around the courts.

Just Ahead would like to thank their new sponsors, GForce Sports Wear, for supplying their new dresses.