Jellies are coming of age

The Jelly Babies, left, and Tots netball teams
The Jelly Babies, left, and Tots netball teams
Megan Wallace

Hard work pays off as Megan celebrates GB dream

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Age is proving no boundary for youthful Jelly Netball Club.

After a fantastic end to the winter season, when both the Babies and Tots teams won promotion to premier two and division four respectively, both sides are on course for another celebratory season this term.

Both remain in the promotion hunt, despite their tender ages – the girls are aged between 12 and 16 years of age.

And it is no surprise that club coach Julie Osborne is bursting with pride with their development – on and off court.

As well as learning the tricks and trades of the game, playing against older, stronger, taller and more experienced opposition, the girls also learn the basics of organising a team, making decisions and improving their leadership skills.

‘The girls are an absolute credit to me,’ said Osborne.

‘I no longer get to matches due to work but this doesn’t faze the players or their highly-supportive parents – come rain or shine they are there to cheer on their super-talented daughters.’

Among the rising stars in the set-up, Amy Stokely has been promoted after proving herself so well in the Tots team.

She’s fitted in fantastically with the older girls, and with such a strong defensive line-up, she’s continually supported by the other girls.

At the other end of the spectrum, Angie Osborne has come into the mix and has proved a huge asset – not only in her shooting ability but the boost in confidence it’s given to shooters Georgia Palmer-Goddard, Clemmie Bridges and Caitlin Johnson.

Meanwhile, a number of the girls have stepped up to the challenge of playing with adults rather than just against them by moving up to Meon Netball Club.

This has also assisted in their individual and group development.

For the Tots, their rise to prominence is even more impressive given that they are run by 14-year-old duo Lily Godkin and Olivia Fretwell and 13-year-old Abi Wood – who also play for the Hampshire academy, alongside Stokely and Johnson.

They are now considered ‘old hands’ in the league, with new ‘little ones’ joining the squad this season.

But Brogan Blake, Georgie Lewis and Chloe Finlay, all 12, aren’t letting the age gap bother them as they continue to produce some excellent netball.

The girls are currently working hard not just on a Tuesday in league matches but in weekly training as well to try to ensure promotion will once again be on the cards.

Success would represent a remarkable seventh leap in standard in just four years for the Babies team.