United in mission to provide top Serve

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United Services are achieving their goals on the netball court.

The club joined the Gosport & Fareham League back in September 2012 in division two.

Their main aim has been to provide an outlet for local military personnel who want to play netball when they return from deployments overseas or in the UK.

It’s something they have achieved and the club is continuing to grow.

‘United Services’ main purpose is to support military personnel to compete in local sports leagues,’ said Linda Harris, who founded the club.

‘Military personnel are often sent on short-notice operations and deployments and so cannot sustain the commitment required from a team in a local league.

‘At the moment, we have players deployed as medics in Afghanistan, on ships at sea and exercises around the world.

‘But they can still come back to compete in the GFNA League due to the support from their civilian team members.’

United Services already have teams in other sports including football, rugby, hockey and cricket.

But netball is obviously proving popular.

The club now has four teams competing in the Gosport & Fareham League – United Services, United Services Pinks, United Services Centurions and new team United Services Sultans.

Civilian members help ensure the teams are able to provide a stable presence in the leagues when the military players are deployed.

Harris said: ‘Each United Services netball team has a core of civilian members who sustain the team so that it’s military players can deploy.

‘We even have a Fijian wives’ netball team with members from the Royal Navy Fijian community.’

US are putting on a tournament next month as they aim to show what the club is all about.

‘We are combining with the other United Services Sports Clubs to run a tournament on September 7 at Burnaby Road, Portsmouth so please come along and meet us,’ added Harris.

‘We are running this tournament to raise awareness of the opportunities within the United Services set-up.

‘And we are also working with the Royal Navy Netball Association to run coaching and umpiring courses to qualify both civilian and military personnel, with spaces available to members of the local leagues.

‘None of this would have been possible without the help and support of GFNA.

‘We also got support from the Royal Navy Royal Marines Sports Lottery, who helped the club start up and continues to provide advice and support in all that the club strives to achieve.’

For information about opportunities within the club, including playing and umpiring, see the website pdevportal.co.uk/united_services_sport

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