Oaksway celebrate third place in netball’s Premier League 1

GOING FOR GOAL: Vicky Phillips has a shot during the netball match between Oaksway and Downs. Picture by FRANK REID
GOING FOR GOAL: Vicky Phillips has a shot during the netball match between Oaksway and Downs. Picture by FRANK REID
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OAKSWAY went “all guns blazing” in their pursuit of a third-placed finish – and the Hartlepool girls hit their target.

Knowing that victory over Downs would see them achieve their goal, Barbara Brown’s team decided on all-out attack.

And that was a tactic which paid dividends as they bossed the Premier 1 season finale from the off and duly emerged 43-35 winners at Brierton Community Sports Centre.

Centre Jill Foreman told SportMail: “We knew what we had to do and went out all guns blazing.

“We could have done a little bit better at the start but we were up at the end of every quarter and really pushed on in the second half.

“It was never in doubt after that and the eight-point win was fairly comfortable in the end.

“To get the win and finish third, having won our last three games, is just brilliant.

“It is a proud moment for the club and an amazing achievement.

“A lot of hard work goes in and this is just reward for that.”

Star player in the winning finale was goalkeeper Leah Kennedy, and Foreman went on: “Leah’s had a few setbacks with injuries and hasn’t had a lot of court time this season.

“But she played the full match against Downs and was outstanding - she was so strong at the back.”

Foreman added: “Leah is one of many of the younger girls who have a lot of talent and have done very well for us.
“Claire Brown is still just 18 years old but she, too, was brilliant on Sunday.

“Hollie Linighan is just 16 and she could be one who has a big year next season.”

And it is next season to which the Oaksway girls have already set their sights.

“We didn’t have a great year last time around and we lost our goal-shooter, Emma Lower, at the start of the year,” Foreman reflected.
“So to finish the season in third and to have brought through so many of the younger girls has been brilliant.

“We’ll no doubt be back for pre-season training in a couple of weeks and looking ahead to getting plans in place for next year.

“It’s always our aim to finish as high as possible and why not go for the title next season?

“We’ve got a good blend of youth and experience and hopefully we can build on our success.”