Gosport Gators have celebrated their remarkable rise.
The Gosport & Fareham League club held their presentation night earlier this month – with guest of honour Priya Samuel from Sport Hampshire & Isle of Wight.
Gators started 12 years ago and have grown beyond all expectation.
Today they boast three adult teams and five junior outfits.
The adults play in the Gosport & Fareham League, with two sides in division three and one – which was a Back to Netball team – in division five.
Head coach Liz Hendrick is ably supported by her talented daughter Hannah Hendrick.
Both are level two qualified coaches and have recently recruited Kelly Hayward, also a level two coach, along with Kerry Welsh, Emily Harcourt, Melissa Arnold, Jade Kennedy and Hannah Early.
The bolstering of their ranks means more training and therefore more participants.
Hannah, whose injuries have sidelined her from regional action and left her requiring two operations, has thrown herself into coaching.
Working with England Netball’s community coach Debbie Laycock, she has increased her Back to Netball numbers to more than 30 ladies.
Gators’ juniors had success in the All About Netball Junior League last season, including title glory for Gators Green.
They will enter five teams for the new campaign.
Two Gators line-ups will be off for their first residential weekend tournament this weekend and
Hannah said: ‘I’m so proud of my girls, on and off the court.
‘They have formed great playing partnerships but also friendships.
‘Their play has improved so much, I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform out of the area.
‘One of our original juniors, Emily Harcourt, won the special recognition award. She has grown into a skilled player and a lovely young lady who has now started working at Boundary Oak Boarding School.’
Hannah’s efforts did not go unnoticed as she won the outstanding contribution award.
Liz emotionally recounted her daughter’s netball journey – which has included securing a job with the Gosport Schools Sports Partnership and most recently being nominated in the young-volunteer-of-the-year category at the South Region Golden Globe Awards.
Samuel told of her respect for Gosport Gators and the hard work put in behind the scenes.
She added: ‘It is testament to the Hendricks’ hard work, the successes Gators are having – not only in medals but in growth.
‘It is truly humbling and makes my job so enjoyable.
‘Netball is great at all levels but this is where it starts – here at participation level.
‘And I am honoured to have been part of it.’
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