Hartlepool Oaksway pull off great netball win at Viper 10 Blades in Southampton

GOOD DEFENCE: Sarah Penny (right). Picture by FRANK REID
GOOD DEFENCE: Sarah Penny (right). Picture by FRANK REID

OAKSWAY bounced back to winning ways with a sensational 63-50 victory at Viper 10 Blades in Premier League One.

The Hartlepool netball side began the season with a 20-goal home defeat to Downs seven days earlier.

But Oaksway put that defeat behind them in some style in Southampton.

Head coach Barbara Brown was minus several of her key players with Kathy Spears, Sally Smith and Natalie Connor all unavailable.

It meant Oaksway were forced to shuffle their pack, with young talent Kayley Moss, usually an attacker, moving to goalkeeper and regular keeper Sarah Penny switching to goal defence.

On paper, Oaksway had a depleted squad but, where it mattered, on the court, they were strong and slick.

Moss was excellent in her new role and with their offensive play impressive they soon overturned a three-goal deficit at the Oasis Academy.

So good were the side, with Toetsie Kambataku firing in the goals, they pulled 16 ahead at one stage in the last quarter.

Brown’s side had to settle for a margin of 13 at the end but it will go as one of the finest away wins in the Hartlepool club’s history.

Player-coach Jill Foreman, currently out of action, said: “I think before going to Southampton we’d have settled for a one-goal gap.

“Barbara and the whole squad are absolutely over the moon with the win.

“It was a fantastic squad performance from the back to the front.

“Kayley has not had a great deal of court time because we’ve tended to be quite strong in the shooter department.

“But she was asked to play keeper against Blades and she had a fabulous game.

“Toetsie’s shooting was excellent but it wasn’t just them, the whole squad performed so well.

“It’s always a tough game at Blades, but we came away with the win and Barbara thinks it’s one of the best she’s seen.

“We had a young bench again with an average age of just 17.

“And while we could not get Hollie Linighan or Danielle Smith on, Claire Brown came on at centre and played well.”

Oaksway’s win was the perfect response to the opening day setback against Downs.

And they can now look ahead to Sunday’s visit of Leeds Athletic to Brierton Community Sports Centre (start 1pm).

Foreman is expecting another tough game, with Leeds having lost out by just one goal on Sunday to Team Bath.

“This is our derby game against Leeds,” she said.

“Obviously we are keen to build on the performance at Blades and we’ll hopefully get in a good training session tonight to get ready for Sunday.”

Team (v Blades): Kayley Moss, Sarah Penny, Vicky Percy, Natasha Hampshire (Claire Brown), Vicky Burgess, Debbie Percy, Toetsie Kambataku. Subs not used: Hollie Linighan, Danielle Smith