The reigning champions needed six points from the 10 available to them over the two games to clinch the title for a fourth consecutive year. Coach Debbie Hallas took a depleted but strong squad up to the North East.
The girls in red and blue started strongly taking a 4-0 lead before allowing Oaksway back into the game and the quarter ran goal for goal. With many of the players on court facing each other for the 2nd time in 3 days, there was a familiar feel and battle around the game. Oldham kept pressing and eventually took a 12-8 lead at quarter time.
The second quarter was better for the away side, with Jodie Gibson, on at GD for Emma Dovey, taking 2 intercepts in row to stretch the lead. The combination with GK Kerry Almond paid off for Oldham and the lead began to blow out. A time out for Oaksway allowed them to make a shooting change, a move mirrored by Hallas, as she brought Alice Travis out to GA and brought on 17year old Amy Clinton at GS. The extra height in the circle slowed the Oaksway defence down and Oldham lead 29-14 at the half.
Dovey re-entered the court for the third in the unfamiliar centre position, but the change didn’t halt the away team. Oldham took their foot off the peddle slightly in the quarter but still led 45-26 at the break.
The final quarter saw wholesale changes for Oldham, Georgie Webster moved to C, Beth Cobden to WD, Travis to WA and Kathryn Turner moved back to GA. The changes stalled Oldham’s flow slightly but intercepts and tips were still coming across the court with even Clinton getting in on the act.
Final score was 55-36 to Oldham, leaving the champions needing 1 point from their final league game to retain the trophy.
Hallas said: “The girls played well in the first half and gave themselves a buffer so I was able to rest some tired legs and rotate the squad. The important part was to get five points in the bag going into the last game with that momentum and not putting ourselves under pressure.”
Team GS A Travis GA K Turner WA M McAndrew C B Cobden WD G Webster GD E Dovey GK K Almond Bench: A Clinton J Gibson