Home is where the heart is – and it appears that West Hill Warriors are benefiting from putting down some solid roots in division three of the Gosport & Fareham League.
After seasons of inconsistency and the upheaval of shifting back and forth between divisions, the Warriors look to have finally found a compatible place of residence for their skills.
Division three has been their home now since the autumn of 2011.
And with two wins from their opening two games of the new season – against Gosport Ferry and Synergy respectively – no immediate return to old hunting ground division four appears on the cards.
Instead, with the side currently sitting second in the table and a move in the other direction looks the most likely outcome.
But that possibility is a long way off for team captain Poppy Hudson, who is just happy to see her troops get off to an impressive start to the new season.
‘Despite our ups and downs over the last season or so, we are delighted to have made a strong start to the new season,’ said Hudson.
‘We are a great group of friends and we are really enjoying our netball right now. Regular wins just add to that enjoyment.’
Set up seven years ago by Pippa Maclean as a fun way to keep fit, the team has proven popular with parents, staff and ex-pupils from West Hill Park School.
The age of the team ranges from 18 to 52, and with a club motto of ‘fun and fitness’, the team clearly enjoys match days and the chance to compete alongside each other.
Warriors, however, suffered a major blow last summer when former captain Heidi Double injured her Achilles – a setback which ruled her out of action for a year.
They also lost key centre-court player Vicky Jenkins at the same time, meaning reinforcements needed to be drafted in fast to assist the team. But after answering the Warriors’ SOS, Jo Bourne and Katherine Arnott have proved worthy additions, fitting in well with their new team-mates and the philosophy for the club.
‘To lose two key players at the same time was a big blow, especially as Heidi thought she’d never play again,’ said Hudson.
‘That said, we worked hard to bring new players in and with Heidi making a great recovery and getting back in the team and with the addition of Katherine Arnott as goal-defence, we are stronger than ever.’
With the team now on a firm footing and making a good impression at the start of another new campaign, Hudson added that fun and fitness remain key components of what the club continues to strives for.
‘We have a motto that we play netball for fun and fitness and we sometimes have to remind ourselves of that when it’s freezing cold and pouring with rain,’ she said.
West Hill Warriors’ next game is against Gosport Borough Mavericks on Wednesday (7pm).
Not all players are connected with the school, so those from the wider community are welcome to join.