Oaksway’s relegation from the Mizuno Premier League has been confirmed after a narrow, heartbreaking defeat at the weekend.
The Hartlepool club will finish bottom of the division after the 56-49 home loss to fourth placed Tameside.
Oaksway were hoping to pull off a great escape but defeat in the must win game ended their almost 20 year tenure in the Premier League.
Coach Jill Foreman said: “It is very disappointing not only for the club but also the town.
“We have been in the Premier league for nearly 20 seasons and to lose our status after all this time is very sad indeed.
“Netball is changing, the impact of semi-professional clubs is good for the sport but not so good for clubs like us.”
Oaksway will now ply their trace in Premier League 2 starting with the new season in September.
“We will spend the summer regrouping and getting ready to go in Premier League 2.
“It is a very good league, there are some good teams in it and we will look forward to participating in it.
“There are some good clubs in it like The Downs and Turnford and with Grangetown we have a derby rivalry to play.”
Oaksway did go down with a fight thigh, running Tameside close in an end-to-end game.
Jill said: “They are a very classy side and obviously riding high in the league.
“We stayed with them for most of the match but they proved just to be a bit more clinical when it mattered.
“I think we needed to do better with the turn overs and the game just ran away a little bit in the final quarter.
“We had two under 16 players in the squad with Olivia Shaw and Maddie Ryder, which bodes well for our future.
“We plan to introduce more younger players in the squad and give them their chance when we play in Premier League 2 next season.”
Oaksway now have their final game at Brierton Sports Centre to Worcester Reds this Sunday and aim to go out on a high.
Jill added: “We now have Worcester Reds, who are down there with us, so we’ll be playing to win and end the season on a high note.
“We will be putting out the strongest team that we can and going for the win, we want to end the season with a victory in front our home supporters.
“It is the final game of the season so we hope our supporters come along, get behind the team and cheers us on to victory.”