Portsmouth teams net glory on enemy ground

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TWO Portsmouth teams produced the goods with fine displays on enemy territory at the Back to Netball festival in Southampton.

Formed early this year, Springers showed they have made quick strides as they won pool B of the competition.

DSTL Dragons, meanwhile, landed the runners-up spot in pool A as they showed their impressive mettle.

Ten teams took part in the tournament, giving the opportunity to Back to Netball participants in Hampshire to play matches against similar opposition in a fun and friendly environment.

Around 80 ladies were in action, many playing matches for the very first time.

Netball development community coach Debbie Laycock organised the event. She said: ‘Back to Netball has become very popular in the last year.

‘The festival was the result of an enormous amount of work by many different people but none more so than the participants themselves.

‘The first stage of the tournament saw teams play in two groups and then teams were regrouped, so they had quality matches against opposition matched to their own standard.

‘It meant that all teams had as much court time as possible and no teams left without winning a game.’

The social side of the sport, meeting new people and playing in an enjoyable environment came to the fore.

Laycock said: ‘The most important thing of course is all the participants had fun.

‘Back to Netball is all about being active, meeting new people and enjoying netball.

‘We’ve had some great feedback about the tournament and look forward to more festivals.’

Springers started out from the New Year Back to Netball programme in Portsmouth, organised by Hampshire netball development officer Emily Loftus and led by local coach Judy Yoxall.

The team are affiliating to England Netball and entering the local league for the winter season.

Cowplain Community Coyotes also impressed at the festival.

The team is made up of ladies who attended the Back to Netball sessions at Cowplain Community College last summer and they bagged third place in pool A.

Laycock added: ‘A lot of volunteers helped to make the festival a success and special thanks go to the umpires, Emily Loftus, the Hampshire netball development officer, who acted as our tournament referee, as well as Active Nation and Southampton Solent University.’