Fun and long-lasting friendships appear to be the name of the game for the girls at Oceans 7 – and that philosophy is in no danger of changing.
Formed back in 2005 by team captain Melissa Arnold as Soccer City Girls, the goals of the team were based around those very principles.
And while the team name might have changed twice since then – to SCG and now Oceans 7 since the winter of 2009 – the club’s laid-back criteria certainly hasn’t.
The girls, who have largely remained together ever since, haven’t stopped laughing and enjoying themselves.
Winning games, gaining promotion and being ultra competitive is still high on the agenda but Oceans 7 are keen to enjoy themselves as they set about their game.
‘We have all become very good friends over the years and I love my girls,’ said Arnold.
‘I love how you can get quite competitive on the court but then come off at the end of the game and have a good laugh and chat about it.
‘We are a competitive team and I love going home from the match having won.
‘But I always know that my girls put 110 per cent into every match and for that I thank them.’
Despite their approach to the game, opposition teams would be wrong to laugh off the challenge of the Ocean girls.
A recent relegation from division five to six is still fresh in the memory – making the side determined to prove any previous doubters wrong following their promotion back to the fifth run of the Portsmouth netball ladder.
‘We started in division six and usually came in the bottom half of the table until we picked up our game and finished fourth in the winter 08-09 season,’ said Arnold.
‘We were surprisingly promoted into division five, which we were not ready for.
‘But at the time the committee had to promote us as there were other teams who had dropped out, so we understood.
‘We were relegated back to division six the following season and then we finished top of division six last summer and were promoted back into division five which we feel we are ready for this time.’
And all this was achieved with several key members having to take time out of the game for various reasons.
‘In the last year alone, Stacey Ware had a baby, Sam Bradshaw and Amanda Hook got married and Holly Shawyer is pregnant and due in the summer,’ added Arnold.
‘And before I had my daughter, we used to train every week when we could.
‘Unfortunately, due to other commitments we are not able to train as much as I would like.
‘But I think everyone on our team will agree that a Tuesday night is a great release, it gets you away from the stresses of work and home and you get to keep fit at the same time which is a bonus.’
Oceans 7 were delighted when Lesley Bruton joined at the start of the winter season and contributed greatly to the team.
Meanwhile, Charlotte Pink, who missed parts of last season because of college work, is also expected back soon.