THE GB Devils are proving they have a sting in their tails as they make steady progress in the Gosport & Fareham League.
Formed in 2013, when several players were unable to commit more time to another club, the team have been proving troublesome for opponents as they make their move to join the league’s elite.
Consisting of mum and daughters Sue Deadman, Lesley Muldowney and Laura Deadman, plus Ellie Wilcox, Jeni Wilson, Jackie Fagelman Helen Dunning, Eleanor Beames and Jade Kennedy, promotion in their debut season from division five showed the newly-formed side were devilishly good at blending as a team.
And a second promotion two campaign’s later to division three –with the help of new additions Poppy Hudson and Grace Barney – has given the outfit belief that they can continue their emergence and mix it with the best that the league has to offer.
At present the side, captained by Dunning, are holding their own in the third tier.
But with the recent signing of Clair Buckland, who has higher-league experience with GB Blades and Shooting Stars, the ambition is to go on another surge.
‘Devils are definitely looking at a mid-table finish but would like to be closer to the top,’ admitted Dunning.
‘We recently held Gators Gold, who are currently in second place, to a draw so anything is possible.’
That ambition is matched by the Devils fielding another side in the All About Netball League at Cams Hill school to accommodate more time on court for all the players.
Dunning put Wilcox, one of the side’s original members, in charge of this team.
In their first season they came third in division one. They then followed that up with victory in a versatility tournament, coming out on top against a good team from Gosport Gators.
This season so far the Devils have beaten Warriors, who stood top of the table, and sit third in the standings.
But Dunning & Co are aiming higher.
‘The team have forged huge bonds on and off the court, even with a very strange mix of ages,’ she said.
‘We’ve had happy occasions when Lesley Muldowney got married and sad ones when tragedy happened for one of our younger players, Jade Kennedy.
‘Jade continued coming to netball and even won the GFNA best and fairest player award.
‘She actually won it the following season as well – a great achievement for someone who hasn’t even left school yet.’