Oldham started brightly and quickly got into a rhythm with Laura Malcolm and Rachel Henry finding the range with feeds into shooters Kathryn Turner and Alice Travis. Travis used her height to her advantage and with some great landing splits was able to shoot from close range. Then injury hit with Taylor going down and she was replaced at the end of the quarter by Beth Cobden. Oldham closed out the quarter 19-10 and looked in control.
However, Leeds clearly had a game plan to stop the flow of Oldham’s fast pace down the court and they put everything in the way to achieve this. The game became very stop-start with Leeds conceding penalty after penalty but with no consequence from the umpires. Georgie Webster and Emma Dovey were like a rock in defence and turned the ball over with regularity and sent the ball back into attack. Oldham’s scoring flow was affected but still ran out the quarter 15-11 increasing their lead to 13.
At half time Oldham took the chance to rotate their squad with Krista Enziano replacing Travis at shooter, Gabriella Marshall came on at wing defence for her Premier League debut and Maria McAndrew took over from Henry at wing attack. Leeds again made further changes and went for more mobile attack, taking off tall shooter Jo Walker. This seemed to work in their favour as they started brightly but they soon faded and only managed to score eight in the quarter to Oldham’s 13. During the quarter Oldham had to reshuffle once again as Dovey went down and had to come off, Webster moved back to goal keeper, Malcolm to goal defence and Beth Cobden came back on at centre.
The fourth quarter saw yet more forced changed as England under 21 Cobden was under limited game play on returning from a knee injury. McAndrew moved into centre and Henry returned at wing attack. Leeds brought back on Jo Walker at shooter and again it changed the game for them. Oldham took their foot off the pedal with the amount of changes affecting their consistency, but the game was already in the bag and even though Leeds won the quarter 16-14, Oldham won the game 61-45.
Next Sunday Oldham play The Downs at Hathershaw in their first home game since November.
Coach Debbie Hallas commented: “It was a great win for us but it came at a cost and I wish Rachael Taylor all the best with her recovery.” “Leeds had a game plan, to stop ours. They have some young, fit players but barely taking an intercept during the game shows their tactics, they just forced the ball off the court. We just kept resetting and putting the goals through the net, sticking to task and playing our own game.”
“My player of the match has to go to the versatile Laura Malcolm, who put in a performance at centre and also when she had to cover back in defence when we lost Emma Dovey.”
Squad: E Dovey, G Webster, R Taylor, L Malcolm, R Henry, K Turner, A Travis, K Enziano, B Cobden, M McAndrew, G Marshall