Premier dream back on for Just Ahead

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Just Ahead are celebrating after claiming the England South division one title.

The Portsmouth outfit delivered a perfect record – winning all 16 matches they played.

And what’s more, the crown has come shortly after they were forced into rebuilding their squad.

Coach Josie Skinner spoke of her pride at the achievement after losing a raft of players to retirement.

She said: ‘Luckily we still had five core players who have Premier League experience – captain Hayley Skinner, Claire Pepper, Sarah Hartfree, Rachael Chalmers and Chloe Spong – so a team was built around them.

‘We had some excellent juniors come through in Hannah Croad, Holly Banks and Lana Hood with more waiting in the wings.

‘Our sole purpose has been to get back to the Premier league.

‘We always believe as a club that we want to play at the highest level – our mentality is to never give up.

‘We don’t bring in many new faces as we prefer to train our own players.

‘It is difficult to find players who can cope with the pressure and tough mental side of the game but we did add Louise Reynolds and Beckie Chaplin, who have fitted in with the JAH attitude.

The team will now attempt to get back to the Premier League.

And this is a dream which they will give every single ounce of energy to realise.

Just Ahead are the most successful netball club in Portsmouth – playing at the highest level.

But as they don’t always play in the local leagues, they are not so well known.

Skinner said: ‘We won the Portsmouth League many years ago and went on to other leagues – winning in Southampton, Bournemouth and London.

‘We played national clubs, then Premier League but sadly lost our place by one point.

‘But we have now rebuilt and won division one with an unbeaten record, so are back in the game.’

Just Ahead won most of their league games quite comfortably – with only a couple of teams giving them a scare.

They finished 14 points clear of second-placed Eagles and boasted an impressive 813 goals scored and 572 conceded.

Their defence, attack, shooting and court play were outstanding to watch as they dominated the league.

And the club were lucky enough to gain sponsorship from Claire Pepper’s boss at Equestrian Fencing Services of Shirrell Heath.

They are very grateful to the timber specialists.