CHAMPIONS Oldham Netball Club celebrate success at various age levels
Tuesday 27th March 2018 @ 12:39 by Mark Phillip

Oldham Netball Club head coach Pam Hazelton has praised the efforts of all her players after the club enjoyed a memorable weekend at various age levels.

The North West Premier team won the Senior North West Premier League, while the Premier Team became the National Premier League 1 champions.

The junior set-up also flourished, as the Under 14s and Under 16s both qualified for national finals with victories against local rivals Tameside.

The Under 14s became North West Regional Champions after a 35-17 win, while the Under 16s were involved in a nail-biting fixture and edged their way to a 40-35 victory.

Both teams will now compete in the national finals, with the Under 16s taking to court in Nottingham during the last week of April, while the 14s will travel to Northumbria at the end of May.

Pam, who has been associated with Oldham for 14 years, is confident that both sides can return from their respective competitions and bring back the silverware.

Speaking to Reporter Sport, she said: “We’re not just going there to make up the numbers; we’re going there to win.

“The Under 16s squad is actually made up of nine girls who should be competing in the Under 15s section, but I decided to put them into a higher age group because of how good they are, as well as three under 16s.

“They qualified for the national finals on Sunday by coming second in the table. It was a great game, because the top three teams, Bury, Tameside and Oldham, all beat each other, so we had to win by five.

“Thankfully we managed to do it, and I’m so pleased for the girls because they’ve not just adapted to playing in a higher age league, but they’ve more than held their own.

“The club has won 50 national finals already, so it would cap off a great season to be able to add to that.”

Pam, who previously played for Shaw Ladies and represented Greater Manchester at U21 and senior level, has been instrumental in developing players over recent years.

The latest in the production line is 15-year-old Grace Rimmer, who has recently been invited to England Camp.

Grace currently represents Manchester Thunder at U17 level, while 15-year-old Berri Neil, who represents Thunder at U19 level, will adorn the England badge in October at the Europe Championships in Dublin.

While Pam has been an influence on many of these achievements, she also heaped praise on the other coaches who help nurture players. She said: “One of the greatest pleasures while I’ve been at Oldham is helping girls develop. However, it’s a real team effort, and I must thank the other coaches for all their efforts, regardless of how long they’ve been associated with the club.”

Berri Neil

Grace Rimmer

Oldham’s Under 14s and Under 15s can look forward to a trip of a lifetime next year.

Following the success of a trip to Australia two years ago, Pam has decided to organise another outing for 2019, this time to Barbados. She said: “We’re all looking forward to making the trip to Barbados next year for two weeks.

“The trip is entirely self-funded, and money has been raised through several initiatives, including a 300 club lottery.

“The parents have a fundraising committee and have put on a number of different events.

“We are looking to generate further funds – not just for the trip, but the club in general – so if there are any individuals or businesses who would like to sponsor us, please get in touch and we can sort something out.”

Oldham will also be hosting a tournament in the forthcoming months, as well as a dinner dance at the White Hart Inn at Lydgate, where the players will be presented with their trophies.