Fareham Flyers are up and running after securing third place at the latest Back to Netball festival held at Cams Hill School.
The newly-formed team, featuring ladies from Back to Netball sessions run by England Netball development community coach Debbie Laycock, have only been playing together for six months.
But they got their first win and clearly gained confidence as they went on to seal third place.
Following their recent success, they are now forming their own netball club and are likely to join a league in the future.
Laycock felt the fine tournament display was just reward for all the hard work put in by the Flyers.
She said: ‘The ladies were so excited after their opening match of the recent festival.
‘It was the first game they had ever won together and it was like they’d won the World Cup!
‘It was their third festival they had entered and just desserts for their hard work and enthusiasm over the months.
‘At one stage during the event they were in contention for the silver medals.
‘But I know they are more than happy to have come third.’
It’s a great sign of the progress the team have made.
Laycock added: ‘When these ladies came to Fareham Leisure Centre for Back to Netball earlier this year, most hadn’t picked up a netball since school.
‘They didn’t know each other but have formed friendships and bonds that are likely to last a lifetime.
‘They take their children out together now and socialise together. That’s what the Back to Netball programme is all about, not just about the sport, although that obviously has recreational and health benefits, it is about giving these women opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t have had.’
Plans to form a netball club are already bearing fruit with three of the Back to Netballers currently taking their level one netball coaching qualifications.
They now train regularly at Southwick Park and are organising friendly matches against other Back to Netball groups and teams in the area.
Laycock added: ‘Fareham Flyers are not the only Back to Netball group to have future plans.
‘The ladies from the Knowle Village session held earlier this year have now formed Knowle Hotshots, gained sponsorship and will enter the All About Netball social league.
‘There are also plans for the Cams Hill School ladies, who currently train on a Monday night, to enter the social league. They have also been entering our festivals and want to pursue coaching and umpiring opportunities.’
n Back to Netball sessions in and around Fareham continue and new players are always welcome. See the website englandnetball.co.uk
n Back to Netball will start in Stubbington on Thursday, November 6, from 8pm to 9pm, at Crofton School, £3 per session and anyone is welcome to attend. Email Debbie.firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.