Aerial flying high as they target more glory

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Aerial Angels are flying high in both the Gosport & Fareham and Portsmouth leagues.

The team have made an impressive start to this season as they look to repeat, or even better, their fine achievements from last term.

They finished in third place on goal difference in the Portsmouth League last season and currently sit third.

Having first entered a team into the Gosport League in 2000, they finished as runners-up last season and currently sit joint second.

Captain Claire Smith puts their excellent form down to having a strong core of players who deliver top performances week in, week out.

She said: ‘Consistency was key for us doing so well last summer season.

‘We have five core players who play both nights every week and then Jodie Stevenson covers keeper most Mondays but will also help us on a Tuesday which we are grateful for, as her and Helen Jones, our super goal-defence, have a great partnership.’

Stacey Daniel came in and proved key to most games for the second half of the season.

And Brogan Horler also stepped in to help.

Both are regional players and brought some fantastic skills and speed to the game play in Gosport.

With injuries to contend with, the team have pulled in many other reserves to help this season in both leagues, with Rachel Chalmers, Nicola Gage and Leanne Channon all stepping up to assist the team.

Smith added: ‘I have to say a massive thank you to our reserves who help us most weeks.

‘Fliss Condron will play either night, whenever we need her, as she is so versatile and committed.

‘Beckie Chaplin helps us in Gosport and is a great player to have on our team and Kayleigh Bond helps us in Portsmouth and is a fantastic player and again was key to us finishing so high.’

Umpire and team member Jayne Knight has secured another year of sponsorship with Aerial Direct.

The company’s previous sponsorship had allowed the team to buy a new kit, enter tournaments and pay for all entry and court fees.

This season they purchased new equipment and again it will cover court fees.

Nicky England was excellent for the team last season but vice-captain Lara Dunk admitted they are currently missing Knight who is out injured.

Dunk said: ‘Having Nicky England back last season was key to where we finished in both leagues but we have been without Jayne for the last few weeks due to injury and we miss her as she is Mrs Motivator on court.

‘Finishing so high in both leagues at the same time last season was definitely our proudest moment to date and proves with a consistent team and super reserves it can be done.’