After a strong finish to their first ever season in the Gosport & Fareham League, Southern Sapphires are now setting their sights even higher.
The team was created last season when captain Sam Brown decided to form a side of her own after many years playing the local leagues.
She enlisted her sister, work colleagues and former team-mates – and the Sapphires were born.
And for a team who hadn’t played together before, they did exceptionally well in their first season in division five – finishing a solid fifth in the table.
They won seven of their 14 games and drew one, but it was the Sapphires’ strong finish to their maiden campaign that gives Brown and her team-mates most grounds for optimism this season.
‘As we went into the second half of the season, we started to really click as a team,’ said Brown.
‘Great partnerships were formed in defence, with goal-defence Rachel Clarkson and goalkeeper Joanne Casey teaming up brilliantly.
‘Goal-shooter Beth Puckey and goal-attack Natalie Wright also began a new partnership that quickly became successful.
‘Mid-court saw myself as wing attack and Karen Andrews as centre teaming up well to deliver great balls into the circle.
‘Whilst the most improved player has to be wing defence Sue Greene who had not played since school.’
New-signing Helen Carter joins the line-up this campaign as the Sapphires look to build on the solid foundations of last season.
Brown added: ‘We are really looking forward to the season ahead.
‘We won our opening game 32-30 against GB Lightning last week, so hopefully we can build on that and push forward.
‘Considering we only have a very small squad of eight players, I have been amazed at the commitment and determination of each and every player.
‘We have always had seven players and no-one has ever let me down – making my job as captain much easier.’
Sapphires, whose next game is tonight against Fareham Fireflys (7pm), are also on the lookout for a sponsor. If you are interested, please contact Sam Brown on email@example.com