Shooting Stars’ relentless ascent up the leagues shows no signs of ending after the side stormed to the South Region division three title.
Having enjoyed unprecedented success in the Portsmouth Netball premiership over the last decade – winning the title eight seasons in a row – the Stars aimed to take that success into the South Region Open League.
Following two unsuccessful attempts at entry through the Hampshire and then regional play-offs, head coach Jane Jewell co-opted Arty Shaw to the coaching team.
After having regional coaching success with the Royal Navy squad and Combined Services teams, he was seen as the talisman to guide the team to victory.
Stars competed in the Hampshire and regional play-offs once again in May/June 2011 and were undefeated in eight fixtures
With their place secured for the 2011-12 season in South Region division three, the task was set to develop a squad that could compete at the higher level.
Stars embarked on their first regional season last September, with opposition including Milton Keynes, Beaconsfield, Brighton, Dreams and Swan Centre.
All 16 matches were won, with Stars securing the championship with three games to spare.
They racked up 80 points – 16 more than the second-placed MSN – with 839 goals for and only 576 against. The title-winners averaged a staggering 53 goals per game.
Coach Shaw said: ‘The basis of that success was consistently good shooting from Vicky Madden, who was 85-per-cent accurate throughout the season, and ably supported in the attacking circle by Nicky Bowen, Emma Woodley and Jane Jewell.
‘Scoring the goals alone isn’t enough to establish dominance in all 16 games and that was done through robust defending, notably from Kris Dorney, Amy Meadows, Lyndsay Hayward and ‘H’ Retallick.
‘The unsung heroes of any successful team are the centre-court players.
‘And the regular Stars mid-court of Marie Stanbridge, Rachel Teal and Jane Jewell routinely turned over opposition ball and converted that into accurate attacking ball.
‘There are other players not mentioned who played a vital supporting role throughout the season and always gave their utmost when called upon to contribute.’
With promotion achieved, the club is now aiming to get a second team into the regional league.
And another set of Stars players is currently being assembled to compete for the Hampshire place in division three next season, with the first game on April 29.
In addition to its regional side, the club currently have two division one teams in the Gosport & Fareham League, five clubs in the Portsmouth League, various junior teams and the aspiration for under-16 and under-19 teams to be competing in regional netball next season.
As a result of their success at all levels, Shooting Stars have been nominated for various awards at the Hampshire Goalden Globes.
The club is truly representative of Portsmouth, incorporating players and coaches from the area and being sponsored by City Wide taxis.
And it continues to support local schools and colleges, with coaches running sessions for Portsmouth Grammar School and Portsmouth College.