Oldham started strongly, as they have done in their other games so far this season. Kerry Almond and Emma Dovey were causing issues for the away side's attack with their presence and strong rebounding, being backed up by Jodie Gibson at WD, who was stifling the through court work for the visitors. Some quick interchanges from the centre court and strong shooting from the, by now usual, pairing of Kathryn Turner and Amy Clinton allowed Oldham to take a commanding 16-10 lead into quarter time.
The same team came out for the second quarter and the flow continued with Gabby Marshall strong in centre and Maria McAndrew running hard to keep the feeds coming into the shooters. Clinton and Turner were performing under intense pressure from the experienced Downs defensive pairing and the lead continued with some fine defensive work from Gibson and Marshall. Oldham took a half time lead of 28-19.
Coach Debbie Hallas opted to bring Abby Tyrrell on to GD and Amy Neild into WA, moving Maria McAndrew into C. The changes worked initially, but errors were starting to creep into the home side's play with some uncharacteristic sloppy play. A scrappy quarter allowed The Downs to pull it back and take five goals on the run to cut the lead to 36-33 at the break.
Marshall and Dovey re-entered the court at C and GD respectively for the last quarter but the errors continued with The Downs bridging the gap even further to edge into the lead with a few minutes to go. Oldham pulled out an intercept and drew level but couldn't quite take the lead back, finishing up with a draw, 43-43.
It's three points gained, but the loss of concentration could prove costly come the end of the season and coach Hallas was rightly disappointed in her side's inability to keep the lead under pressure. "I was pleased with the start we made, however, we struggled with our decision making when the game became tight. The Downs had two good runs in the third and fourth quarter but we didn’t use our experience to halt this. It was a game of dominant defences and young shooting ends. I was pleased how we stood upto it but I think having many players playing in the Next Generation competition the day before, it took its toll on us in the end.”
Starting seven: GS A Clinton GA K Turner WA M McAndrew C G Marshall WD J Gibson. GD E Dovey GK K Almond. Subs: A Neild A Tyrrell.
Next match for Oldham is away to Team Bath on the 25th October.