England got their 2017 FIL Rathbones Women’s Lacrosse World Cup campaign off to a winning start with a 12-6 victory over home nation rivals Wales.
A strong all-round display spearheaded by England captain and game MVP, Laura Merrifield, saw the hosts home after a tight first-half.
England went in to the break with just a one goal advantage after a competitive first 30 minutes in which both teams jostled to get on the front foot.
Continuing on from the colourful opening ceremony, the two teams gave the watching crowds a real entertaining match, particularly in the opening stages as both teams traded blows back and forth with no side ever gaining more than a one goal advantage.
Laura Merrifield was a force with characteristic surging runs through the midfield, bringing the game and the tournament’s first goal after earning a free. At the other end, Sophy Coombes-Roberts looked a threat whenever in possession and was deadly accurate in front of goal when given the opportunity.
Chloe Chan and Annie Hillier in particular were relentless for England playing an aggressive, upfront defensive game that constantly put the Welsh under pressure.
At the half-time break with the scores at 6-5 in favour of England the contest was poised perfectly as the crowds watched on in the warm, evening temperatures.
In the second half, England kept up the high intensity game and were able to begin to control more possession. Merrifield and Jenny Simpson were dictating the pace of the play at the heart England’s attacks, with Simpson coming up with three assists, repeatedly popping up behind the goal to feed to the running cutters.
Megan Whittle lead the match scoring for England with a hat-trick, while eight of her team mates also got on the scoresheet in an impressive collective effort.
Coombes-Roberts also hit a treble, Ellie Jones, Ros Lloyd-Rout and Laura Warren added goals and Erin Walters-Williams came up with eight saves for Wales but in the end it wasn’t enough as England went on a 6-1 scoring streak after the interval to claim victory.
England next play Scotland on Friday 14 July at 6pm, while Wales take on 2013 silver-medallists Canada also on Friday at 2pm.
MVP: Laura Merrifield
— English Lacrosse (@englacrosse) July 12, 2017