PREMIER LEAGUE NETBALL REPORT: Hartlepool Oaksway 49 Worcester Reds 34

GOING FORWARD: Rebecca Neil leads the attack for  Oaksway v Worcester. Pictures by Tom Collins.
GOING FORWARD: Rebecca Neil leads the attack for Oaksway v Worcester. Pictures by Tom Collins.
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OAKSWAY are celebrating their first home win of the season – and a move up netball’s Premier League table.

Barbara Brown’s side had already won twice on the road with sensational wins at Leeds and Bath.

But Sunday’s 49-34 success over basement club Worcester Reds at Brierton Community Sports Centre was a sweet one as it lifted the side up to sixth.

It is tight in mid-table with just three points separating the Downs in fourth to Tunford in third bottom.

Coach Jill Foreman said: “We’re no where near out of the woods yet, but we’re in a much better position than we would have envisaged at this stage of the season.

“We lost so many players in the summer and so much experience and it was looking like a difficult season.

“There is still a long way to go, but the girls have done fabulous so far. Everyone deserves a pat on the back.

“We will take it one game at a time and try to pick up something in every match.”

Getting anything from this Sunday’s trip to Oldham will be a massive ask – the Lancashire club have won seven out of seven and have a staggering goal difference of 165. But Brown, Foreman & Co will be looking for a good performance in readiness for a vital mid-table battle with Hucclecote seven days later.

Oaksway can approach both the games with a bit of confidence after a superb performance against Worcester.

The opening stages were a little frenetic but once the game settled down, the Hartlepool side dictated play, leading by five after the first quarter and doubling the lead by half-time.

They extended the advantage to 12 goals after three quarters, with the final score 49-34.

“We didn’t under-estimate the Reds,” said Foreman. “We played some really good stuff and it was a great win. Everyone worked hard.”

It was tough to single out a player of the match with Natasha Hampshire outstanding, again, in the centre, in attack and defence.

Leah Kennedy put in a tremendous shift at goalkeeper while Danielle Smith excelled at wing attack.

Teenage forwards Ellen Hirst and Hollie Linighan again impressed while Toetsie Kambatuku performed well at goalshooter despite coming under pressure from a physical away defence.

Team: Leah Kennedy, Danielle Smith, Rebecca Neil, Vicky Burgess, Nartasha Hampshire, Ellen Hirst, Toetsie Kambatuku. Sub used: Hollie Linighan. Subs not used: Sarah Ferry, Fiona Dewar, Kerry Melville