“The five S’s of sports training are: stamina, speed, strength, skill, and spirit; but the greatest of these is spirit.” Ken Doherty
England’s spirit is second to none, the passion and endeavour displayed by this young team is a credit to them, the coaching and backroom staff and all involved with their Championship journey.
An early yellow card for Australia’s Karri Somerville gave Alice Cranwell the first scoring opportunity with a free position, she did not miss. However, the opening goal did nothing to settle the nerves. Australia were able to gain possession at the draw and force a free position of their own and scored whilst still a man down. At this point the momentum of the game switched in favour of Australia who were causing turnovers and beating England to ground balls. A scoring frenzy ensued for the next 10 mins taking Australia into a 1-6 lead.
England showed their character to take back control. Freya Savage earning possession at the draw, Australia’s goal keeper saved the first shot but good defence by England gave the ball back to attack and Liv Wimpenny was able to score from Taya Jackson’s assist. England continued to dominate the draw and goals from Tilly Shires, Alice Cranwell and Taya Jackson brought England back into the game 5-6. Australia’s timeout served them well, Rebecca Lane scoring to end the half 5-7.
The first period of the second half mirrored that of the first, Australia causing turnovers and making ground balls gave them possession, which they turned into a 6-10 lead. Good play from England’s Freya Savage to win the draw and give the ball to Alex Drewe who neatly found Alice Cranwell for a goal kept England in contention 7-10.
Australia’s Rebecca Lane put in a MVP performance in this game. She earned control of possession at the draw and it seemed put the game out of reach for England by scoring to take it to 7-11.
England’s spirit is not broken that easily though. Hannah Thurston picked up a ground ball and started the attack for England. Sharn Muffet Australia’s goal keeper kept the first attack at bay but Hannah was able to provide an assist for Alex Drewe who converted to begin England’s comeback 8-11. Goals from Hannah Bray and Feenie Ruiz brought England back to within one goal of Australia 10-11.
The Australian keeper pulled out a top drawer save from Alex Drewe’s attempt to bring the game level. Muffets clear was executed perfectly to deliver Australia’s Theo Kwas the opportunity to regain a 2 goal cushion. 10-12 with 7 minutes remaining.
England’s Mimi Ruiz saved what would have surely been a winning goal from Theo Kwas’ free position. England earned a free position of their own and Tilly Shires was able to pull a goal back for England, 11-12.
Liv Wimpenny has impressed throughout this Championships and it was her shot that tied the game 12-12 with 42 seconds remaining of normal time. A well advised timeout from Coach Budd helped England compose themselves to see out the clock.
One goal a piece in overtime took the game into the 3 minutes Golden Goal stage. A nervy period, with both teams earning fouls and causing turnovers. England received a yellow card but Australia were unable to capitalise. Either team could have won, both spurned opportunities but it was Australia’s Ashtyn Hiron who was able to score in open play to eventually win the game in the 5th overtime period.