Oaksway off to a flier for new year

Oaksway (blue) V Oldham. Picture by FRANK REID
Oaksway (blue) V Oldham. Picture by FRANK REID

OAKSWAY reaped the rewards of their Christmas training regime as they kicked off 2013 with victory at Hucclecote.

The Hartlepool girls – last in action four weeks ago – refused to use the festive holidays as a winter break and instead worked throughout the free period.

And that was in evidence at the weekend as they roared to a 51-36 triumph against their Gloucestershire hosts.

Oaksway were in command throughout, and it was a performance which thrilled their coach, Barbara Brown.

“It was a great team display and a well-deserved win,” she told SportMail.

“We looked a lot fitter than they did and that’s testament to the work these girls put in over Christmas and New Year.

“You really have to be at your peak fitness in this division and I don’t think people perhaps appreciate how hard you have to work.

“Credit to the girls, they have a great rapport with each other and they’re not scared of that hard work – that told at the weekend.”

Superior fitness aside, Oaksway boast a great deal of quality and they raced into a six-point lead by the end of the first quarter.

“We started off very brightly,” Brown went on.

“Vicky Burgess was excellent and was probably my man-of-the-match, but our goal-attack, Vicky Phillips, produced some lovely shooting as well.

“The whole team played fast, hard netball and competed well.

“Their goal-attack caused us a few problems later on, but Natalie Connor is very experienced and dealt with her well.

“I changed a few things in the second half and we got a couple of our younger girls – Rachael Bird and Kayleigh Moss on to the court – and they did well.

“So it was another excellent win and it keeps us up there in fifth place, still within sight of the top.”

Oaksway take on Team Bath Toucans at Brierton Community Sports Centre on Sunday (1pm start) and Brown is hoping for a big crowd.

“This is another big game for us and we’d love to see as many as possible come along and support us,” she said.

“Bath are a good side but a couple of their international girls could be missing.

“But I’m mainly interested in what we do and, if we can produce another strong performance, I’m confident we can get another positive result.”

OAKSWAY: Sarah Penney, Natalie Connor, Vicky Percy, Natasha Hampshire, Vicky Burgess, Deborah Percy, Vicky Phillips. Subs on: Rachael Bird, Kayleigh Moss.