In previous weeks Oldham have had sluggish starts but this was put right for sure this week with the home side taking an early 7-1 lead. The defence were unstoppable with Kerry Almond, Emma Dovey and Beth Cobden being a brick wall to the academy in attack. At the other end the goals were flying in from all over the circle past former England International and ANZ defender Sonia Mkoloma. Oldham were on fire and took the game to Academy from the first whistle, the quarter ended Oldham leading 17-5.
Oldham’s strong, adaptable squad means coach Hallas could make some changes in all areas of the court. Helen Housby and Alice Travis took up the shooting positions, Maria McAndrew came on at WA and Georgie Webster took the goal defence bib. The changes took time to settle and Oldham’s flowing netball seemed to have come to a halt. Academy took advantage of this and scored a consecutive six goals without an answer from Oldham. A time out in the quarter gave chance for the home team to refocus but Oldham’s blip meant they lost the quarter 16-7 and the overall lead was only eight.
Going into the last quarter changes were made again with the reintroduction of Dovey, Henry and Turner. Through the court Oldham looked more controlled and comfortable. Despite an hour in the C position Malcolm was putting in a tireless performance making sure the ball was linking from defence to attack with ease. The quarter finished 13-5 and this took the final score to 51-35. This victory places Oldham 2nd in the league and just two points behind the league leaders The Downs.
Coach Debbie Hallas said: “I was happy with the first half performance, we made it very difficult for Academy to attack which we have been working on. I made a lot of changes at half time but we have shown in the past that we can adjust to this, unfortunately today we didn’t and we let Academy back in sight of us.”
“Kathryn Turner and Rachel Henry impressed today, however, my player of the match has to go to Beth Cobden who did a great job in shutting down the Academy attack.”
With a break in Premier League, Oldham’s next fixture is a trip to Bath on Sunday 3rd November.