Shooting for league glory

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Hampshire under-16 league glory beckons for Shooting Stars Yellow.

With two matches to play they have a very real chance of becoming champions.

It comes off the back of a fine season last time out, when the team – also known as Shooting Stars 5 – were undefeated for a long spell and secured promotion to division one of the Portsmouth League.

They put in the hard yards every week, playing matches on Tuesdays and Saturdays, with training on Wednesdays.

Their great preparation work is paying dividends and they have a tremendous resolve to win their matches on court.

Head coach Arty Shaw said: ‘Stars 5 became the consistent team they are now through hard work and great team spirit.’

Shooting Stars 5 were formed three years ago by Shaw and fellow head coach Jane Jewell.

They became the first under-16 team within the growing community of Shooting Stars Netball Club and were handed the opportunity of developing their games in the adult leagues.

Lots of girls were blooded in the team in the first two seasons as they were handed valuable experience in Portsmouth League division five.

But it has not always been easy for the team.

Shaw added: ‘The summer season of 2011 saw some real problems with player availability, as the core team were embroiled in exams – and a number of adult players had to bolster the ranks.’

Things have picked up since then with captain Beth Bridgen, Jess Jewell, Rosie Davis, Jordan Campbell, Rachel Cox and newer players, Libby Franklin, Darcy Hyatt and Maddie Parke doing the business. But the real turning point was the additions of Gosport players Georgia Parsons – younger sister of England international Yasmin, Sarah Rynn, Hannah Cooper, Georgia Hodges, Anna Bolwell and Aimee Rawding.

The team were more competitive with better shape and balance. They also showed a growing maturity when taking a big decision about the future.

Shaw said: ‘When the opportunity arose to disband the team and become absorbed by the adult teams, the girls voted to remain together, which I am very proud of.

With huge support from parents, the team is now managed by Sarah Cooper while Claire Nineham and Michelle Curry do the coaching.

Most of the squad are set for the regional under-19 tournament at East Grinstead on Sunday and will come up against some high-quality sides.