Toronto back on top after tough time

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Rubies gleaming as Clifford apply pressure

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TORONTO HT stormed back from the edge of the abyss to take the Portsmouth League crown.

It was a rich transformation for the side who at one stage appeared to be on the brink of folding.

They sunk to third from bottom in the premier division at the end of the summer season.

Their prospects looked bleak as the departure of many first team members left them with just six players available for most matches.

Just when it looked like curtains for the team an injection of new blood started the return to prominance.

And they quickly found their form thanks to the reliability, consistency and commitment from the new faces.

From the beginning of the season the team were unstoppable as they powered to the league title – their first since 2007.

Several times since then they had gone close to lifting the crown – sometimes missing out on goal difference.

So it was particularly sweet for them to be back on top and lifting the silverware once again.

Captain Pauline Taylor said: ‘Having a core eight or nine players was key to our success this season.

‘Our team spirit was the best it’s ever been and the strength in the squad was outstanding.

‘We are grateful to Nicola Gage and Lorraine Sherwood for helping us out and making a difference to the team.

‘Our regular shooter Paula Churchill being on fire made sure we won most games.

‘Many players have come and gone but myself, Jeanie (Brumhill), Roxy (Lihou), Karyn (Molteni) and Jackie (McGuigan) are long-standing players.

‘Everyone played their part this season and the hard work has paid off.’

The Portsmouth Netball Association committee are also grateful Toronto stuck around as they are helpful in fielding umpires for other teams.

Captain Taylor added: ‘We don’t train as a team but Katie (Taylor) and Sian (Miles) are with local clubs, so they do.

‘I am proud to say we have been around for 32 years and just like to turn up and have fun – so winning the league is the icing on the cake.

‘It’s the least we can do after nearly three years of sponsorship from Highland Tandoori after a chance remark on a night out in there in 2009. Even if we don’t win the league for another six years I am proud Toronto is still around playing great netball. Bring on the summer season.’

Sponsorship is key and Raj, owner of Highland Tandoori, who provide the team with vital support, was pleased to see them return to top spot.

He said: ‘We gave them the incentive that if they get to the top of the league the whole team would get a free meal and, as promised, the table was booked last week to celebrate.

‘We are proud to sponsor Toronto HT and will continue to do so – we hope this is the start for them to keep winning and they stay at the top of the league. Well done, ladies!’