Oldham Under 14’s finished the season in style with victory at Yendy’s tournament on Sunday. Oldham looked like a team that meant business from the off with an awesome 19 -1 win against Ryland U14’s. Oldham went on to record five more group game wins against, Oaksway, Ribble, Barr Beacon, Parkside and Imagine 8. The undefeated record and superior goal difference placed Oldham at the top of the league and set up a semi-final against 4th placed Bury.
Oldham made light work of their opponents and recorded an impressive 10-1 win to progress to the final. Local rivals Tameside had beaten Parkside in the other semi-final to set up a derby game for the top honours.
As the crowds gathered around court Oldham looked ready to do the business, Tameside had other ideas and as the whistle blew they came out with all guns blazing. With three quick unanswered goals Tameside looked to be on a charge and Oldham looked shell shocked and struggled to put any meaningful passes together.
A spark was needed to fire Oldham and they got one from the superb Bayley Whittaker (WD) who turned the ball over at the edge of the Oldham circle and began a move that ended with Oldham posting their first goal of the game. Within 60 seconds Oldham had pulled level with Susie Armstrong and Ellie Fitzhugh in defence continually thwarting Tameside’s forwards and releasing the ball back down court. At half time Oldham had a 5-4 lead. The second half was a display of pure awesomeness with 6ft shooter Lucy Stevenson converting 100% of her chances in the final. The forward trio of Morgan Evans, Jasmine Newell and Amelia Hall worked tirelessly and accurately fed the ball into Lucy to convert. The Final score was 11 -5 and Oldham received a great round of applause from the entire crowd at the final whistle.
Squad: Susie Armstrong, Ellie Fitzhugh, Chloe Ross-Brown, Bayley Whittaker, Morgan Evans, Olivia Brown, Jasmine Newell, Olivia Towey, Amelia Hall, Hannah Dahou, Lucy Stevenson. Player of the tournament : Amelia Hall
Oldham put together a team with a mixture of youth and experience to gain some pre-season match play in the annual Dominoes Netball Tournament. The popular event that attracts teams for all over the country took place at Wright Robinson Sports Arena, the home of Manchester Thunder.
Oldham started with an experienced side with National League players Krista Enziano and Kathryn Turner catching the eye as they swept past Norfolk United 14-3. Next up were Trafford Juniors and the Oldham youngsters were thrust into action. Abby Tyrrell made an immediate impact with several turnovers in defence, while Rebecca Hope impressed at centre with some driving runs through the court and quick feeds into shooters Amy Clinton and Amy Neild.
The squad rotation worked in Oldham’s favour as they cruised through the rounds beating Beehive, Brigg, Hills, Retro and Chester along the way. In topping their group in the round robin, Oldham were through to the knockout stages of the cup competition and faced Macclesfield who finished fourth in their group.
Nottingham City Netball Club progressed through their first knockout game and were a tricky opponent in the quarter final as Oldham seemed to take their foot off the pedal. In a close first half it wasn’t until half time that Oldham moved through the gears, Maria McAndrew came into her own and very lively in attack playing quick one-twos with Rachel Henry to feed the shooters who started to slot the ball home with ease.
Having already beaten the juniors, Trafford seniors looked a tougher prospect having progressed to the semi-final. After an initial physical contest Oldham were clearly too strong and at half time made changes with 15 year olds Clinton and Hope coming on to finish the job and keep legs fresh for the final.
Home team Dominoes were the opposition for the final, also National League team and recently promoted to division two it looked a well matched game. It started that way but Oldham soon started to move through the gears with McAndrew in great form driving the attack. While Kerry Almond and Abby Tyrrell were solid at the back. Ebbie Danson-Chappell came on at half time to mark the Dominoes wing attack who was having an impact in the Dominoes attack. The tactic worked plus with McAndrew, Henry, Turner and Enziano on fire in attack Oldham went on to win comfortably 11-4.
Coach Debbie Hallas said: “It was great to work with a squad with such a mixture today, the youngsters from our under 15’s squad gained valuable experience playing with members of the Premier League squad and certainly didn’t look out of place. The future is certainly looking very bright.”