That’s the spirit! Kelly hails versatility heroes

Salterns were GFNA versatility group B winners
Salterns were GFNA versatility group B winners

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Kelly Hayward has hailed the spirit and quality on show in the latest Gosport & Fareham Netball Association versatility showdown.

Youngstars and Salterns carried off the silverware after a competitive battle at St Vincent College in Gosport.

And Hayward, the tournament organiser, reckons all 16 teams who made up the two groups can be proud of their performances.

The competition was split into two groups – group A for teams from divisions one to three and group B for divisions four to seven.

After a series of round-robin fixtures, the top four teams in each group progressed to the semi-finals and then the final.

Youngstars came out on top in the Group A final, beating Stars 2 to the title.

Meanwhile, Stars 1 conquered Whiteley Dental Diamonds in the third-place play-off.

And in group B it was Salterns who came out on top in their nailbiting final with Gosport Borough Lightning.

Gosport Gators were third, with Fareham Fireflys Blue fourth.

‘I wanted to add the excitement with the semis and finals,’ said a chuffed Hayward.

‘With versatility it comes down to what position the players are selected to play in and that can really upset results.

‘The top group proved very competitive.

‘With many teams having a squad of versatile players, some great games were played.

‘A special mention must go to Phoenix.

‘They are a division six side who played within the top group and gave a good account of themselves.

‘They continued in great spirit up against some tough competition.’

Group B was just as impressive for Hayward.

‘Group B proved tight throughout the day with many matches being drawn in the round-robin stage,’ she said.

‘In the end, the order of the top four had to be decided by goal difference.

‘It was great to see some different teams playing in the tournament, too.’

Hayward, who is vice-chair of the GFNA, admitted she breathed a huge sigh of relief when the rain stayed away for most of the day.

And as she begins to scale back her involvement in the association, she was pleased her final tournament proved to be such a hit.

‘It’s well known I also organise the weather, too,’ she joked.

‘I must admit I was panicking with how the recent weather had been.

‘But we managed to pull it off with just a few minutes of rain, which helped make the day that little bit better.

‘As usual, I couldn’t have done it without the help I receive.

‘So a big thank you goes to Sarah Cooper, my time-keeper for the day, and the independent umpires, Karen Miles, Andrea Davis, Lesley Bruton and Aly Bradley.

‘I have decided to take a big step back from my GFNA commitments for this coming season, so I am pleased my last tournament went so well.

‘I wish the new tournament secretary well in their role.’

The next tournament will be the mixed competition in July.