Meon celebrate cash boost with England star

Meon with England international Jo Harten, centre
Meon with England international Jo Harten, centre
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Meon have been presented with a £1,000 cheque from the charity Join In UK.

The Portsmouth-based club won the prize after newly-elected chairperson Jo Coker applied for help to improve match facilities and training equipment.

Join In UK specialise in supporting local sports teams, which are run predominantly by volunteers, to help them get more people involved in sport and promote a healthy, active lifestyle.

Meon have been established on the south coast since 1975 and two of the volunteers who retired from the club 10 years ago – Karen Rock and Kim Grainger – were present to receive the prize, alongside long-standing coach Debbie Laycock.

Stacey King, who is BT regional partnerships director for the south east, presented the cheque to Meon at one of their training nights at Portsmouth High School.

Meon chairwoman Jo Coker said: ‘It has been several years since the club have replaced any training equipment.

‘We will be using this money to purchase fitness equipment as well as new post protectors for our matches.’

One of the requests was to receive some bespoke training sessions, so Coker organised this and the club were excited to welcome England netballer Jo Harten.

Harten has more than 75 caps for her country and currently plays in the ANZ Championship in Australia and New Zealand.

The Meon ladies were keen to learn from her experience and find out how she prepares for and recovers from matches, although the eight-minute ice baths may not catch on any time soon.

The players had time to chat and have a look at her bronze medal from the World Cup earlier this year.

Harten then got the girls in to a warm-up before introducing some new group drills and various techniques which they can bring into their game play.

Coker said: ‘The day was a great success for the club.

‘It was full of fun and excitement and we even managed to get Jo in a Meon dress but unfortunately she couldn’t join us for good!’

Many of the skills learned on the day have since been implemented in to Meon’s training and match play.

The club currently boast teams in the South Regional League and Hampshire League, as well as competitions in the local area.

Meon have gone from strength to strength over the years but could only have done so with the support of volunteers and this was recognised by Join In UK.

Coker said: ‘As we all know, no sport can do without their volunteers.

‘This cheque is in recognition of those who started the club back in 1975 and to everyone who has volunteered since then. Meon Netball Club thank you one and all.’