The home side started strongly and punished any early errors from Oldham, taking the lead out immediately, despite some strong shooting from Kathryn Turner. The centre court combination of Maria McAndrew, Gabby Marshall and Taylor Cullen were finding life tough as The Downs pushed on ahead, despite some flashes of their usual flair and strength. Oldham reached the break down by six - 15-9 to the home side.
Coach Debbie Hallas switched things up for the second quarter to try to stem the flow and the changes worked immediately. Marshall had much more influence at WD and Iona Darroch worked tirelessly at C, injecting some much needed drive into the attack. Emma Dovey was having her strongest game of the season so far, taking intercept after intercept to provide Turner and Krista Enziano the opportunities to bring Oldham back into the game. At the half The Downs led 27-23.
Enziano returned for the final quarter, but unfortunately, couldn't be the catalyst for a win, despite the reigning champions drawing level for a brief time. Oldham were guilty of making the wrong decision at crucial times and that cost them, as did the slow start, slipping to a three goal loss and to second in the table.
Coach Hallas said: “It was a tough loss, despite asking for a good start we still gave ourselves a hill to climb starting poorly. Once again we were on catch up, when we did gain momentum and were within one goal the umpire went down injured. We lost that momentum and made errors in an attempt to gain ground. My player of the match has to be Emma Dovey who led from the back and came out with 17 interceptions. Iona Darroch was a game changer coming on at centre and never stopped running for our cause.”
Starting seven: GS K Enziano GA K Turner WA M McAndrew C G Marshall WD T Cullen GD E Dovey GK A Tyrrell. Bench: A Clinton I Darroch S Armstrong.