Meon storm enemy territory

Meon 2 are unstoppable
Meon 2 are unstoppable
Debbie Laycock takes one of her infamous selfies

Tributes paid as Laycock calls time on dream

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THEY’RE on the up and up.

There is no stopping Portsmouth-based outfit Meon 2.

And they are doing it on enemy territory.

A crushing 73-14 victory over New Forest side Applemore Russets in their final match of the season, ensured a third successive promotion, and a league title to boot, in the Southampton League Winter Season.

And Meon’s second string did it the hard way, overcoming injury woes and an unexpected enforced lay-off while maintenance work was carried out to the courts.

Captain Angie Osborne said: ‘To gain our third successive promotion is such an achievement.

‘But to do it in a season where we haven’t played the same line-up twice is a real coup.

‘Injury to our centre Jodie Carolan was problem enough but then we lost our experienced wing Kelly Wallis towards the end of the year, too.

‘It goes to show what great team spirit we have developed and how determined we have been.’

Meon 2 only joined the league three years ago and have gained promotion every year since, this time, though, it is as champions.

Now they are preparing for the challenge of division one netball next season.

New players Jo Richardson and Chelsea Smee have been significant in the team’s success – Richardson forging a great partnership with Caroline Brown in defence and Smee recording some great shooting stats.

Youngsters Lizzie Orridge and Maisie Butler have also excelled in the team, racking up the player-of-the-match awards, with Orridge also tasting success with the Meon 1 squad.

She joined the Meon 1 team for the regional playoffs last week.

In the final game of the season, captain Osborne was in great play-making form at goal attack.

And defender Leanne Watson, also joining the first team for the regional play-offs, showed just how much she had improved with many turnovers and interceptions.

The performance was a far cry from a few months ago when Meon 2 were beaten by nearest rivals Seven Birds and a Ball.

But coach Debbie Laycock believes that defeat proved a crucial turning point in the season.

She said: ‘Meon 2 has had a great season and deserve promotion for all their efforts and hard work.

‘The match against Seven Birds will always be etched on the brain as it was really a turning point of the season.

‘It gave a few people the kick up the backside they needed.

‘Since that result our performances have got better and better.

‘We’ve had some tough games, but training intensity has been increased to cope with this and the players have all responded exceptionally well.’

Laycock added: ‘Division one beckons and a lot of hard work and commitment needs to be made to ensure we make the most of the opportunities handed to us.

‘I don’t think there is a better group of players to coach than at Meon and all our success this season is testament to the loyalty and effort the players put in.’