Gosport & Fareham netball is now well and truly on the map – thanks to one local coach.
Back in 2010, Jannene Taylor decided to put together a team of under-14s from the Gosport & Fareham Junior League to battle it out in the Hampshire Junior League.
The idea was to help the youngsters progress their netball and play against the best in the county, with the eventual aim of taking on the best in the south region and beyond.
Trials were held to select players to represent the GFNA League, and in the 2010 season Team Gosport & Fareham came sixth .
For the 2011 season, Taylor decided to enter both an under-14s and under-16s team, and the results were impressive.
She explained: ‘The first and second placed teams get the opportunity to play in the south region and then the national league, so it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.
‘In 2010 we came sixth out of nine teams in Hampshire, which was quite good seeing as the girls were made up from different clubs within GFNA and had never played together as one team.
‘The under-16s were very committed in their first season but despite their best efforts, they did not get through to the south region.
‘The under-14s, however, did exceptionally well.’
The top two teams in the under-14s automatically got a place in the south region league.
Third-placed teams went through to play in a set of play-off matches for one final place in the south region.
The play-off clashes were held on Saturday January 7, 2012, and Team Gosport & Fareham won all of their matches to gain the final place in the south region under-14 league.
Taylor added: ‘Five of the players were in the team last year and we had four new players this season. The girls are from Gosport Borough and Fareham Fireflys netball clubs.
‘I am very proud of them. We had two months of training over the summer of 2011 so we went into the league in a better state then we did in 2010.
‘The girls have gelled very well and they have worked really hard to become a team in such a short time,’ said Taylor.
‘I was extremely proud when they won the play-offs and we are still improving.
‘We are currently concentrating on working on some partnerships within the team.
‘It can take a long time for the shooters and the defensive circle to become a team, but they have done tremendously well.
‘We have shown the rest of region that there are some good players down here in Gosport and Fareham and hopefully we can show that there are some good clubs and coaches down here too,’ Taylor added.
She paid tribute to the efforts of C Award umpires Karen Molteni, Karen Miles and Sue Smith. While the likes of Jo Coker, Sarah Gazzard, Kelly Hayward and coaching assistant Chelsea Smee have also played a big part in the team’s success.
‘A big, big thank you too for Gosport Borough and Fareham Borough councils for their grant that we were given to help with the kit,’ said Taylor.
‘And last, but by no means least, thanks to the parents for their commitment.
‘The decision to put this team together was for the girls but I have gained so much out of this as a coach.
‘Probably the best moment in my netball experience in 22 years of playing, umpiring and coaching was the moment when we won the play-offs to get through to the south region.’
n Gosport Borough Mavericks are looking for a defensive player for the new season of division three standard. If you are interested, please contact head coach Jannene Taylor on 07912 555678.