England Lacrosse 13 – Australia 7
Team England Lacrosse woke up extremely excited for the first of three test matches this morning. The last time these two teams met was in the 2013 World Cup, where Australia were victorious with a 12-6 win over England. The last time England beat Australia was in a friendly before the 2009 World Cup, so we knew there was a lot at stake for this game. Team England have been working towards this test series for over a year so they were excited to put their hard work to the test.
The game started with an Aussie possession at the first draw before transitioning it into their attacking end. Emma Oakley stepped up immediately putting pressure on in defence and a well-timed slide from Annie Hillier saw the ball turned over and start the transition to England’s attacking end where Jenny Simpson set up Megan Whittle for a drive, before beating 3 players to score a top corner goal.
England made sure the next draw control was theirs with some scrappy groundball work from Torz Anderson to come up with possession. Australia defended well to create a turnover and found Hannah Nielson on the right post for their first goal of the game, before adding another drive and goal shortly after.
England responded with a Whittle draw control and assist to Jenny Simpson to tie the score up once again. The draw was hotly contested throughout with very few being cleanly won; it was much the same with possession with there being lots of turnovers in both ends by great unit defence.
A huge save and clear from Sally Keogh found Asha Niven who used her speed and athleticism to transition the ball up the pitch. After some controlled attack play, Torz Anderson found her Oxton teammate, Charlotte Lytollis, to score a top corner goal.
Australia continued to create some great opportunities in their attacking end but they were denied by Keogh in goal on multiple occasions, leading to England taking the ball up the pitch where Charlotte Lytollis drew a shooting space call before assisting Sophie Brett for a goal off of the free position.
The Aussies weren’t letting their momentum drop and continued to put England under pressure, resulting in a 50/50 ball being won in front of goal and a close-range goal helped the Aussies pull one back. After some up and down play, some great pressure by Megan Whittle and Sophie Brett in the re-defence caused an England turnover before Torz Anderson found Laura Merrifield at the top of the fan who scored with a long-range power shot.
This inspirational goal from England captain Merrifield boosted spirits once more at the close of the half, but not before Merrifield had the final say, repeating her previous efforts with a second long-range power shot and goal to end the first half with England leading Australia 6 – 3.
The Australians came out fighting in the second half but Sophie Brett won a scrappy draw control to begin the half and some fantastic transition play from Emma Oakley and Laura Merrifield allowed Megan Whittle to score the first goal of the half. The Aussies responded with a period of attacking play before Izzy McNab made a series of incredible saves in goal, before a rebounded shot found the back of the net in favour of the Aussies.
A turnover by Hillier and Whittle from the next draw saw Charlotte Lytollis move the ball to Torz Anderson who scored from a strong 1 on 1 drive from the top of the fan. In England’s next period of attacking play, a yellow card saw England be a man down for two minutes allowing Australia to get two quick fire goals back on the score sheet, bringing the score to within two.
Following this, England called a time-out to re-group and this seemed to work as Merrifield won the next draw and England controlled possession to run the time down on the card before Merrifield drove and shot to add another goal to England’s tally, shortly followed by a solo effort from Whittle and a post drive from Brett, taking the score to 11-6.
Australia had an answer, scoring yet again, but England kept calm and collected in defence, creating turnovers leading to fluid attacking play and another goal for England.
In the dying seconds of the game, England caused a turnover from solid 1 on 1 defence before Ruby Smith stormed up the pitch, feeding the ball to Camilla Hayes who assisted Jenny Simpson who scored as the buzzer sounded.
Final score, England defeated Australia 13-7.
Team England are really excited for the next 2 test matches against Australia this weekend and would like to thank for Australia for an extremely competitive game.
Team England squad: