Oldham crowned National Premier League champions for record tenth time
Oldham Netball Club are celebrating recording their tenth National Premier League title win with a final day of the season nail biting match last weekend (Sunday 26 March).It means the Club, which has produced some of the country’s leading netballers over many years, has secured the top spot in the league, England’s highest accolade for clubs below Super League, for a record breaking ten of the past eleven seasons.
The final day of the season saw Gloucester-based Hucclecote travel to Oldham with a huge amount to play for – they needed a win and other results to go their way to avoid relegation. For Oldham, a win was needed to secure the championship for a seventh season in a row. Given the importance for both sides, it was a tense and nervy affair and Oldham Head Coach Debbie Hallas rang the changes after the first 15 minutes after being unhappy with her team’s slow start and finishing quarter one level at 13-all. She introduced 16-year old Pippa Morgan as goal keeper and the shuffling of the pack made a difference as the side, with an average age of just 22, started to move through the gears. The improvements allowed for the introduction of two more 16-year olds, Sophia Warn and debutant Ellie Jennings. Despite the improvements, Oldham were only five ahead at the end of the third quarter with a 45-40 advantage going into the final 15 minutes. The crowd made a difference as the game reached its conclusion with Oldham cheered towards their tenth title, extending their lead to eight. But nerves showed and Hallas re-introduced some experience onto court with Northern Ireland’s Ciara Crosbie and Maria McAndrew as the gap closed to two. With 30 seconds of the game – and the season – to go, Hucclecote bravely went for it but couldn’t score and as the clock ran down, they won 57 points to 55 and so secured their tenth championship. Head Coach Debbie Hallas said: “I am emotionally drained after a long season and that finish, but I am so proud of this young team who have built confidence through the season learning from more experienced players. “That is what our Club is all about – nurturing youngsters to develop and bringing the best out of everyone on court. I want to thank every single player who is part of this team and Oldham Netball Club as a whole, along with every parent, every coach, every sponsor and everyone who plays such an important role in making us what we are. “To achieve ten out of eleven titles is a phenomenal achievement and shows the talent we have at our Club, a club that plays such an important role in developing the young players of today so that some of them, we hope, can become the Super League and international stars of tomorrow.”
Photograph of Oldham winning the National Premier League this weekend.
For further information and interviews, please contact Debbie Hallas on 07970 064625.