Team England 12 vs New South Wales / Queensland (NSW/Q) 0
After a tough match yesterday versus Victoria, Team England Lacrosse were ready to build upon their previous performances and take the opportunity to work in different combinations of players and run through different formations and attacking moves. Team England Lacrosse were set to face New South Wales / Queensland who are a relatively young side, entering the tournament for the first time since 2005, where they previously reached the final. As lacrosse is currently rejuvenating in Sydney and getting off the ground in Brisbane, it was great to see this squad re-entering the tournament and helping to grow the game.
As the first whistle went, Asha Niven leapt in the air to control the first draw before kick-starting England’s attacking unit. NSW/Q came out feisty, putting the pressure on England early resulting in the defensive unit also getting into the game early on. Sophie Whitehead played some solid 1 on 1 defence to create a turnover before passing off to Megan Whittle who drove in for the first goal of the game. The next period of play was end-to-end with both teams having their chances in attack. England were strong on the re-defend with Ruby Smith, Florry Saunders and Sophie Whitehead turning the ball over on several occasions.
England began to find their feet with a flurry of goals from Whittle and 2 from Morrill (ass. Whittle, Finnigan) before NSW/Q pressured England once again forcing Sally Keogh to make several quick-fire saves in defence before Gloster picked up a loose ball to start an England transition, culminating in a Finnigan goal.
An injury to a NSW/Q player caused a break in play, with 7 minutes left in the half, giving England time to focus in once again. As the game re-started NSW/Q had some great periods of play through midfield forcing Torz Anderson and Sophie Morrill to work hard to re-defend and slow the ball down, ahead of experienced defenders Georgie Hurt and Ash Gloster playing excellent 1 on 1 defence to stop NSW/Q in their tracks. The first half finished with two more England goals in quick succession from Morrill and Anderson leaving the score at 7-0 going into half time.
As the teams took to the field once again, England continued to dominate the draw with a Saunders possession before taking the ball into England’s attacking end. England tried to have more link-up plays, which created several scoring opportunities; notably when Charl Lytollis fed Camilla Hayes for the first goal of the second half. NSW/Q didn’t let this dampen their spirits as their goalie made a series of big saves forcing England to re-defend once again. England dug deep and created numerous turnovers in the ride, using their fitness to capitalise on their opponents. A particular highlight was when Whittle tipped a pass in the ride, which Emily Gray intercepted before both stormed up the pitch and Gray assisted Whittle for yet another England goal.
More goals came from England’s attacking link-ups from a range of players and England were dominant on the counter-attack which resulted from solid defence and midfield re-defending causing turnovers. Katie Armstrong stood strong with several periods of incredible 1 on 1 defence, creating turnovers once again. With quick ball movement and a Finnigan goal (ass. Gray) England were dominant until the end of the game.
Credit should go to the NSW/Q goalkeeper who was selected as MVP for making a MASSIVE 16 saves and won 5 groundballs and also to Katie Armstrong for a stellar performance in defence, winning England’s MVP for the game.
Team England squad vs NSW/Q: