Oaksway netball star Leah Kennedy jets off after receiving last minute international call

Oaksway star Leah Kennedy has jetted off Down Under after being called up as a late injury replacement by England.

Monday, 24th October 2016, 1:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 1:34 pm
Oaksway (dk blue) v Academy (light & Dark blue) at Brierton Community Sports Centre, Hartlepool on Sunday

The Team Northumbria captain received the last minute call to the England Fast5 setup over the weekend, after original squad member Jodie Gibson was forced to withdraw.

Kennedy has taken her place in the national squad for the Fast5 tournament which takes place in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday and Sunday.

Fast5, originally called Fastnet, is a variation of netball featuring shortened games and goals worth multiple points.

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And as a result Kennedy was absent from the Hartlepool team’s side which suffered their second defeat of the season against Academy Prem at the Brierton Community Sports Centre on Sunday.

Legendary head coach Barbara Brown said she was delighted with the news of Kennedy’s call.

“We are delighted that Leah has received another call,” said Brown.

“It was a late one for her due to the injury, but she deserves it for her excellent performances.”

While Kennedy was flying off to the other side of the planet, her team-mates were suffering another loss, having been beaten in their season opener last week.

This time is was an experienced Academy side who were the victors, seeing off Oaksway 53-36 at the weekend.

Despite the defeat, Brown says there were plenty of positives to take from the clash.

Fielding a relatively young, inexperienced team the Hartlepool outfit were far from overawed by their more seasoned opponents, who were dotted with internationals.

Brown picked out centre Claire Brown as one of the stand outs on the afternoon, as well as Iman Thomas, who put in an admirable show at goal defence.

“When you see that our players hadn’t really seen a lot of each other on the court in the run up to this game, they put in a brilliant performance,” said Brown.

“It was only in the third quarter that I would say Academy began to pull away.

“We were within five points almost all the way through the match.

“But their experience told in the end.

“We missed our shooters.

“If we’d have had Georgia Rowe and Chi Semple, who were both out, things might have been different.”

Oaksway: Tuainie Keenan, Iman Thomas, Claire Brown, Tasha Hampshire, Rebecca Neil, Heloise Wormleighton, Vicky Phillipson. Subs used: Natalie Connor, Victoria Burgess, Ella McKnight.