Netball: Hartlepool Oaksway 54 Viper 10 Blades 44, Semple shoots team to vital win

Oaksway goal shooter Chiara Semple on the attack in the Premier League win over Viper 10 Blades at Brierton Community Sports Centre. Pictures: Tim Richardson.
Oaksway goal shooter Chiara Semple on the attack in the Premier League win over Viper 10 Blades at Brierton Community Sports Centre. Pictures: Tim Richardson.

Oaksway are fighting for their Premier League lives after pulling off a stunning victory over Viper 10 Blades.

The Hartlepool girls produced a superb middle section of the game at Brierton Community Sports Centre to beat the south coast club and move out of the relegation zone.

Sunday’s win, masterminded by the experienced head coach Barbara Brown and Melissa Sweeney lifted Oaksway to seventh though they have a daunting trip this weekend to runaway leaders Oldham, who have won 13 out of 13.

“We’ll look to give them a good game,” Brown told SportMail.

“They are a very good side but we’ll look to get as close to them as we can.

“It’s going to be hard to stay above the bottom three, some of the teams we are up against can call in a lot of Super League players into their teams.

“But it’s about us going out to do the business when we are on court and the girls showed a great spirit against the Blades.

“We gave the ball away a bit at times which we should not be doing at this level, as I told the girls.

“But we defended really well and worked tremendously hard, I was really pleased with the girls.”

Play was tight in the opening quarter which ended even and the key to the match was turned in the second quarter when Brown and Storey made a tactical switch.

They moved Chiara Semple from goal attack to goal shooter and Oaksway never looked back.

With the gifted Kiwi hitting the goal every time, the Hartlepool side took control, establishing a five-point lead by half-time.

The third quarter was just as impressing, Semple so accurate in the scoring circle as Oaksway extended their lead to 10.

It proved crucial, with the hosts running out of steam a little in the final segment of the game as they withstood a spirited fightback by the Hampshire club.

“They came at us strongly in the last quarter,” explained Brown.

“That lead could easily have been whittled down the way they took the game to us but the girls kept their heads.”

Not surprisingly, Semple clinched the player of the match accolade but it was a real team effort with Tamsin Moala and Iman Thomas coming off the bench to good effect.

Natasha Hampshire, as always, put in a terrific display in the centre while Claire Brown shone in two roles.

But the coach said the plaudits belonged to Semple.

“I think from the second quarter until right into the third, she never missed a shot and her final stat was 97%,” added Brown.

Oaksway: Leah Kennedy, Tuaine Keenan, Claire Brown, Natasha Hampshire, Rebecca Neil, Chiara Semple, Vicky Phillips.

Subs used: Iman Thomas, Tamsin Moala