England Lacrosse 13 vs Australia 7
With the test series score tied up at 1-1, after a tough loss in overtime showing that a wounded Australian team could prove dangerous, England Lacrosse were prepared for battle in the third and final test match.
The game started with a draw control for Torz Anderson however Australia soon managed to turn the ball over and create a fast break goal to get on the scoreboard first. England won the next draw and transitioned the ball up the pitch where Sophie Brett drew a foul to convert the free position to tie the score up 1-1. Australia were quick to respond with a cascade of goals led by Sarah Mollison, with a series of drives from both the top and behind. Kirsten Lafferty and Charlotte Lytollis made some critical turnovers in defence and Sally Keogh made a series of big saves in goal, however, England could not convert in their attacking end. After Australia had a period of dominance on the draw and a long run of possession in attack, the score stood at 5-1 to the Aussies with 10 minutes left to play in the first half.
After a tactical time out from coach Collier, England won the next draw with Megan Whittle converting a free position to cut the deficit back to 3 goals. Sophie Brett continued to put the pressure on the Aussie defence with some agile dodging and quick feet to score 2 quick fire goals, taking the score to within 1 at the half time break.
With cool heads England returned to the pitch after the break to gain possession on the first draw before Torz Anderson scored a top corner shot and Merrifield added to the tally shortly after to put England in front for the first time in the game (6-5).
Back in the defensive end, Asha Niven performed a fantastic job limiting instrumental Australian attacker, Hannah Nielson, getting much time on the ball; Nielson showing her experience, worked tirelessly off-ball to set a pick for Mollison who scored tieing the game up once more.
But England had an answer, a show-stopping save from Izzy McNab and a huge clear up the field allowed for some excellent transitional play to set up England captain, Laura Merrifield, for a drive from the top to clinch another goal. Moments later, Jenny Simpson found Merrifield again for England’s second goal in one minute.
England had really found their stride, as a drive from the top saw Ruby Smith get herself on the score sheet with a shot powering low to take the score up to 9-6.
After some solid defence, an off-ball attacking foul from Australia saw Ruby Smith create an England fast break before finding Anderson who fed Lytollis for a quick-stick goal.
As England continued to widen the gap, Australia put on the pressure in their defensive end, meaning England could work the ball around and create some great opportunities. After patience and controlled play by England, Torz Anderson found Sophie Brett free in front of goal to score yet another; however Australia responded quickly with a crease drive goal once again from Mollison.
With 4 minutes on the clock, England were valuing possession and set up a strong drive from Laura Merrifield at the top to bring the score to 12-7. It was England who had the final say of the game, and test series, when Jenny Simpson found Megan Whittle to take the score to 13-7 to win the match and test series.
Special congratulations must also go to Sophie Brett who proved herself to be invaluable in a close-fought match and won MVP.
England have had a fantastic tour to Australia and would like to thank the Australian Lacrosse Association (ALA), Australian National Team players and coaches and the umpires for organising and running such a competitive and successful tournament and for welcoming England Lacrosse so openly.
England Lacrosse players would also like to recognise and thank our coaching and management team who have supported us wholly in the lead up to and during our tour and for giving us the opportunity for this incredible learning experience.
England Lacrosse Squad