OAKSWAY got off to a flier as their depleted squad enjoyed a surprise opening-day victory over New Cambell.
The Hartlepool girls entered into the new season without a number of key players, turning to youth in a bid to plug the gaps left by Great North Run commitments, injury and newborn babies.
And stand-in coach Bev Linighan couldn’t have asked for a better response as Oaksway overcame the physical challenge of the London-based visitors.
The hosts raced into an eight-point lead inside the first quarter before emerging 59-47 victors.
And star centre Jill Foreman told SportMail: “We started very strongly but after the first quarter it was nip and tuck.
“It was a very physical game, it always is against New Cambell.
“So to get the win after a difficult pre-season was fantastic.
“We all really pulled together and there were some brilliant performances.
“Vicky Burgess, our wing-attack, was outstanding and was an excellent link to the goal-shooters.
“Rowena Carter was playing her first game after a long injury layoff and was brilliant as our goalkeeper.
“And then there was young Olivia Mason who came on at half-time and showed a lot of maturity and had a terrific game.
“We had a really good crowd there as well and that helped, so all in all it was a great day and a great start to the season.”
Oaksway’s success last season was built around their home form and Foreman admits it was good to get maximum points in their opening game at Brierton Community Sports Centre.
“We’ve always had a very strong home record and it’s great to get off to winning start – it’ll be important again this year,” she went on.
“Teams don’t like coming up here and, in the coaches’ speeches after the game, they said that a few girls had dropped out.
“But we’ve got to travel all over the country and we just get on with it even though we go some very long distances.”