NETBALL: Hartlepool Oaksway take on Jamaica in Commonwealth Games warm-up match

ON THE BALL: Rebecca Neill playing for Oaksway against Jamaiaca
ON THE BALL: Rebecca Neill playing for Oaksway against Jamaiaca

IT may have ended with Oaksway on the wrong end of a heavy scoreline – but the Hartlepool team had a day to savour as they took on one of the world’s greatest teams.

The Premier League side were invited to take on Jamaica as part of the Caribbean island’s preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

Even though it is the off-season for Oaksway, it was too good a chance to turn down.

Jamaica showed their immense talent to win 90-24 but there was no shame for Barbara Brown’s side who gave it everything and will have learned so much from their time on the court at the University of Northumbria.

Player-coach Jill Foreman, making a welcome return to the centre after having a baby last year, said there was pride and enjoyment in the squad after the friendly.

“Jamaica are the third best team in the world, so for us to play them was a fantastic opportunity,” she said.

“They based themselves at Northumbria University for their training camp.

“At the last minute they decided they wanted a match and approached us.

“While it’s out of season for us, it’s not something you can really turn down.

“It ended up 90-24 but we’re quite happy.

“They have players in the professional Australia and New Zealand league and you can see the standard and size of their players.

“I think they had one player 6ft 7in and another 6ft 6in, so they were great athletes and players.

“We’re going through a transitional phase so for our players to get the experience against a side like Jamaica was fabulous.

“We’ve lost a lot of experience from the club over the last year or two and we’re bedding our Under 18 players into the squad.

“Hollie Linighan, Ellen Hirst and Fiona Dewer all got good court time on Sunday

“It was a great exercise for us and I think Jamaica found it worthwhile.

“It was just a lovely day for the club all round. Jamaica were not only top players but really nice people.”

Oaksway kick off their Premier League season at Academy on September 7.

Squad (v Jamaica) Jill Foreman, Sarah Penny, Natasha Hampshire, Vicky Burgess, Kayleigh Moss, Leah Kennedy, Josie Pointing, Hollie Linighan, Ellen Hirst, Fiona Dewar, Danielle Smith, Rebecca Neil