Earlier in the season Oldham suffered a disappointingly loss by three goals and handed The Downs the advantage in the league. But with recent result going Oldham’s way they would only need another one point in their remaining two games to secure the Premier League Division One title for a third successive year.
Oldham were without a five of their England players as they were on rest, plus defenders Jodie Gibson and Sara Hale were both suffering from slight concussion following their clash of head in the Manchester Thunder match the day previous. However, the difference for Oldham over the last few seasons has been their strength in depth but a good start would likely set the tone for the match and Oldham stamped their authority early on and were dominating. Shooters Kathryn Turner and Alice Travis were unstoppable missing just one goal from 18 attempts and restricting The Downs to just 11.
Throughout the season Oldham Coach Debbie Hallas has used her bench to good effect but she stuck with her starting seven going into the second quarter. It was key that Oldham piled on the defensive pressure to stop the ball into England's Goal shooter Rachel Dunn. The Downs came out fighting in the second fifteen and the quarter went goal for goal. A time out towards the end of the quarter allowed Hallas to try something new bringing on Rachael Taylor and moving Marshall and Henry forward into centre and wing attack. The second quarter was a draw and at half time Oldham led 28-21.
The home side had to hold their nerve going into the last quarter and halt any comeback from The Downs. The aim was to restrict The Downs getting within five as this would give them an extra point in the league table. However Oldham did not just hold their nerve they took the quarter by the scruff of the neck and dominated play all over the court. Kerry Almond had Dunn rattled and did not let her find the ball easy. Crucial interceptions all over the court from a hard working attack and defence showed why Oldham deserved this result and also to get within easy reach of retaining the Premier League trophy. Oldham took the last quarter 14-9 rewarding their hard work all through the court.
Coach Debbie Hallas: “This was a massive result for us, the girls had our defeat to them earlier in the season in their minds and were keen to put it right. They certaining didn’t want to relinquish their title without a fight.”
“The player’s that stood out were Kerry Almond who gave Rachel Dunn a torrid time, Gabs Marshall and Rachel Henry in centre court who really kept it settled in the middle while being a driving force. Plus Kathryn Turner and Alice Travis were formidable in the circle even though they were under immense physical pressure from Surrey Storm defenders Hannah Reid and Katy Holland.”
Oldham: GK Kerry Almond GD Georgie Webster WD Gabrielle Marshall C Rachel Henry WA Maria McAndrew GA Kathryn Turner GS Alice Travis
Bench: Krista Enziano, Alix McDermott, Rachael Taylor, Abigail Tyrell
The Downs: GK L Betsy GD H Reid WD B Gentles C S Gulliford WA M Portman GA K Harris GS R Dunn
Bench: K Holland, A Davis, A Flanagan