OAKSWAY face a nail-biting climax to the Premier League season following a heartbreaking defeat to New Cambell.
The Hartlepool team pushed the Eastenders all the way at Brierton Community Sports Centre, only to lose out 51-50.
Defeat left Oaksway in fourth bottom though the two points they picked up kept them six points above the drop zone.
Barbara Brown’s team just have three games left and only one at home – and that is a tall order against championship favourites Oldham.
It therefore puts the pressure on the Poolies on the road and makes the March 1 trip to bottom club Worcester Reds a must-win assignment.
Coach Jill Foreman told SportMail: “We still have a gap over [third bottom] Turnford, but we are not safe.
“It’s not an easy run-in but we’ll be looking to get something from every game.
“Worcester are bottom and probably need a miracle to stay up. We need to get full points there.
“Oldham is the hardest game you can get but we’ll fight and do our best to get something and then we finish at Hucclecote who we tend to have good games against.
“We are playing well, especially when you consider the amount of injuries we have, and we’ll keep going to the very end.”
Oaksway did just that in a titanic battle with New Cambell.
The Essex girls led by one goal at the end of the first quarter and then by four at half-time,
But Oaksway fought back strongly in the third quarter and at one stage even got a goal in front.
Unfortunately, they could not sustain it and New Cambell sneaked back in front by three going into the last segment of an enthralling contest.
The away side looked in charge but Oaksway kept fighting and fell just one short in an exciting late assault.
“What a game,” added Foreman. “It was a fantastic match for the neutrals.
“On paper, they had a lot of talent on show but we nearly won it.
“We had several opportunities to get into a lead but we couldn’t quite do it.
“We played well and fought really hard but ran out of time – had we had a couple more minutes I think we would have won.”
Two of the club’s newest additions and one of their most established stars had superb games.
Rachel Saville, who has taken a GP job in the region, was brilliant at wing defence as was wing attack Hattie Grant, a Newcastle University student.
Debbie Percy, out of retirement to aid the club through their injury crisis, was again outstanding at goal attack, providing great support to goal shooter Toetsie Kambatuku.
Oaksway: Leah Kennedy, Nicole Styles, Rachel Saville, Vicky Burgess, Hattie Grant, Debbie Percy, Toetsie Kambatuku. Subs: Danniele Smith, Kayleigh Moss, Sarah Ferry