INJURY-ravaged Oaksway saw their title hopes dashed as Premier League leaders Hucclecote left Hartlepool with a 50-41 victory.
The Pools girls lost three key players in the build up to the game – Natalie Connor suffering an ankle injury, Melissa Storey going down with a chest infection and Jill Foreman breaking two fingers in her right hand.
That left Oaksway with just nine fit players for the visit of the title favourites, and despite a spirited showing, Hucclecote proved too strong as they eased nine points clear in the final quarter.
Goal shooter Emma Lower went down with a knee problem during the game but soldiered on after treatment
“The injuries didn’t help I must admit,” said broken-finger victim Foreman.
“Even still we started quite well and were only trailing by four points at half-time.
“We let things slip a bit as the game went into the final quarter and it was our own errors in not converting our turnovers which cost us.
“But they were on a mission to win the league and they’re a very good side.
“That’s our title hopes gone now but we’re still determined to finish the season strongly because that gives us a platform for next year.”
Foreman, though, said there were plenty of positives to take from the performance, not least the display of teenage goal-keeper Leah Kennedy and teenage goal-shooter Olivia Mason.
“It’s very difficult being a young goal-keeper but Leah was fantastic,” added Foreman, “Especially considering she was up against an up-and-coming England goal-shooter.
“Olivia was probably our man of the match as well.
“They targeted our tall goal-shooter Emma Lower and that freed Olivia up a bit.
“We also had Claire Brown playing who is just 15 years old and that’s great experience for her.”
Oaksway have a free weekend coming up before travelling to Leyton a week on Sunday, when they will be looking to complete the double over the Londoners.