Netball report: Team Bath Toucans 48 Hartlepool Oaksway 53

GOOD PENNY: Oaksway star Sarah Penny
GOOD PENNY: Oaksway star Sarah Penny

OAKSWAY can begin whistling the tune to the Great Escape.

The Hartlepool side are now safe in netball’s Premier League after pulling off a stunning 53-48 victory at Team Bath Toucans.

Oaksway’s third away win of the season has moved them up to sixth, climbing above Bath in the process.

But the key stat for Barbara Brown’s team is that they are now seven points clear of New Cambell, who remain in third bottom after their 54-46 defeat at Leeds.

Oaksway are now safe, no matter what happens in the final round of matches a week on Sunday, not that they are wanting to take things easy against Academy at Brierton Community Sports Centre.

Head coach Brown said: “It was a brilliant result, a massive well done to the girls.

“We’re safe now, but we’d like to finish on a high with a win against Academy.”

Brown was unavailable for the match at Bath, with Jill Foreman and Vicky Burgess taking charge of the side.

And the Oaksway players did their coaches proud with an incredible effort at the University of Bath.

“What a game,” said Foreman. “It was so tense, which was no surprise with the result meaning so much to both teams.

“It was nip and tuck all the way through but we were over the moon to come out on top.”

Oaksway could not afford to allow the Toucans to pull away in the early stages and they competed strongly, ending the first quarter just a goal down.

The second quarter was the Hartlepool club’s best, fighting for every ball against Bath and taking their chances at the attacking zone.

Oaksway reached the interval five goals up and with Toetsie Kambatuku on up front for the second half, they kept their noses in front.

They were one up going into the last quarter and they stayed ahead through to the end.

“I’m not sure it was our best performance,” said Foreman. “But I think our win was down to some good old Poolie grit.

“Everyone worked their socks off, especially the last 15 minutes when we defended so hard.

“I think the girls knew what it meant for the club and they were desperate to get the win.

“They put everything into it and you could see at the end they were out on their feet.

“But we were totally ecstatic to know we are safe.

“We are the only North-East side in the Premier League and we’ve been there a long time and did not want to lose our place.

“We’re proud of that and we’re proud of our youth system.

“We want our young players to have something to aspire to and to keep playing Premier League netball means everything to us.”

There were eight heroes in Bath, but the magnificent Sarah Penny edged the player of the match accolade.

Oaksway: Leah Kennedy, Sarah Penny, Vicky Percy, Natasha Hampshire, Vicky Burgess, Debbie Percy, Kayleigh Moss. Sub used: Toetsie Kambatuku. Subs not used: Rebecca Neill, Sally Smith