Viper 10 Blades 43 Oaksway 45: Netball Premier League win for Hartlepool team

Oaksway's netball stars at the club's award night. Picture by JOE SPENCE
Oaksway's netball stars at the club's award night. Picture by JOE SPENCE

Oaksway are looking forward to a taste of home comforts after starting their Premier League programme with FOUR away games on the spin.

The Hartlepool side can’t wait for their opening game at Brierton Community Sports Centre this Sunday – even if they face a herculean task against leaders Oldham (start 1.30pm).

We were a bit depleted due to injury and unavailability, but the girls pulled together

JILL FOREMAN

But Oaksway approach the match in good heart after climbing to sixth in the table thanks to an exciting 45-43 win at Viper 10 Blades.

Despite travelling to the south coast with several key players absent, Natalie Connor and Jill Foreman guided their side to their second victory on the road.

“We can’t wait for Sunday to play at home,” Foreman told SportMail.

“We’ve had a hard start with four away matches, but we’ve done well to pick up points.

“We were really pleased by our win at Blades.

“We were a bit depleted due to injury and unavailability, but the girls pulled together.

“It was close in the end but a fantastic result. To be sixth after four away matches in a row shows how well the girls have performed.”

Oaksway were helped in Hampshire by an outstanding performance up front by Lisa Bowman.

The giant goalshooter, who travels from her native Northern Ireland to represent the Poolies used every inch of her 6ft 2inframe and experience.

She received great support froom Rebecca Neil at goal attack. The young star, who prefers to play centre, had an excellent first half before switching to wing attack.

Player-coach Connor, a first-class defender, came on at goal attack in the second half and was superb.

Oaksway made a lightning start and led by three at the end of the first quarter.

It was tight as the half-time whistle approached, but when Bowman’s last-gasp shot whistled in, the away side had gained a crucial advantage, which they refused to relinquish.

The second half was a real end-to-end battle as the clubs matched each other goal for goal. Bowman kept finding the net and Oaksway emerged close but deserved winners.

“We just managed to keep our noses in front,” added Foreman. “It could have gone either way but I think our defending won it.

“It wasn’t just our defenders but our whole team, we were superb.”

Foreman had praise for Bowman, who could prove a key figure for Oaksway this season.

“Lisa’s a Northern Ireland international and has super League experience,” said the player-coach.

“I think she will be a massive asset for us and it’s great to have her at the club.”

Oaksway: Leah Kennedy, Nicole Stiles, Jaydene Robinson, Hattie Grant, Natasha Hamshire, Rebecca Neil, Lisa Bowman. Subs used: Danielle Smith, Natralie Connor