England slow to settle in against Iroquois
In the opening game England took on an Iroquois offense which looks to hold the usual high standards of ability.
From the first whistle the Iroquois looked to be packed full of talent, controlling the face off and overwhelming our defence with exceptional ball movement and an unmistakable confidence with the ball in their sticks.
As the Iroquois ran the score up the English defenders struggled to stay on the pitch, racking up two penalties early doors and chasing stick in dangerous positions. Goals began to fall one at a time and quickly England found themselves down by 5.
It wasn’t until 9 minutes passed that England were able to clear the ball into their attack at the hands of Elliot Leonard and settle for a well worked 6 on 6 to generate a brace of shots from big gun Joe Cara.
England quickly shifted to a double long stick face off and began to win some more possessions, the defence were able to settle and a Russell feed found Joe Cara inside the restrainer for a great bounce shot into the top corner, taking England off the mark.
From there England GK Hudson settled into his game and began turning away Iroquois shots one at a time, even as the English penalties continued, Hudson would finish the game recording 9 impressive saves against the Iroquois, before being replaced at half time.
As the game continued England eventually managed to stem the penalties, as the Iroquois overtook England 9 minutes to 7.Despite remaining 6 on 6 the Iroquois still maintained control.
The fourth quarter started 19-1 in favour of the Iroquois, but the English boys came out with a renewed confidence. England looked steadier, and for the first 10 minutes or so held their own at the face and in transition.
In the final minutes of the game Loughborough student Joe Cara stepped up for England, first putting away a screamer from the outside of a man up, next letting a fast shot go for team mate Austin Hudson to collect and put away. The final goal of the game came from a rockaway shot by Norbury’s Jake Leonard. England should be proud of the final moments, if they can put that kind of performance together for 4 quarters, things will certainly go their way later on.
The Iroquois may well be a story in this tournament. There can be no argument they have a combination of two outstanding attackers in Nanticoke and Staats, plus a FOGO who looks to have the technical ability and the strength of a senior player, not an under 19.
Although the England lads will be struggling with the result of this game, it looked to have taught them a valuable lesson about the pace of play at the international level. If they are going to move onwards and upwards, which I think they will, then they can’t concede early penalties. In England’s next game they will have to avoid conceding runs of goals like they did vs Iroquois.
Amongst the result there were some great individual performances that players could be proud of. Alex Russell looked as confident under pressure in the world games as he does in a Poynton shirt, Elliot Leonard wanted the ball in his stick any time he could, and Joe Cara’s famous outside shot had goalies looking nervously at their team’s distance from net.
Article by Tom Roche