TDAS Blog: Day 12
This was the day that Team England had been waiting for, the air was filled with a mix of excitement, nerves and anticipation. Each player had their own way of coping, some choosing to rest and watch TV while others mingled about. A few of the girls joined in a game of ‘stop the bus’ (great game which I’m sure they will be playing lots from now on).
Team England women were up first to make the ten minute walk through the park to the venue. I am sure like me, the teams will miss the daily walk to ‘work’. Matches had now moved to the Wagner Stadium, which is where the Dutch National Hockey team play most of their matches and the crowds started taking up the seats in the stand and the open areas (the sun was out). The teams went through their warm-ups and England finished first and were ready to go, so they had a rock, paper, scissors competition while Wales finished off their warm-up routine.
It did not take long for England to get the scoring way underway, with Laura Merrifield taking the draw herself, catching it and driving up and around goal to slot past the Welsh keeper in under 15 seconds. The lead was doubled not long after as Lucy Lunch took one step on a free position and powered a shot into the goal. Ruby Smith, who has had a great performance throughout the tournament then got in the goal action after she was pushed into the goal area, resulting in a free position which she scored from. The Welsh were worried having gone three goals down and called for a time out. This must have put some wind in their sails as they had the next opportunity to score from a free position, However England goalie, Cat Gaunt was more than equal to the shot.
England continued controlling the first half, with goals from Merrifield, Sophie Brett (off a great cut), Smith (2 goals) and Bruce after a midfield interception from Torz Anderson. The highlight goal of the half came from Emily Gray, who caught the ball in front of goal and shot with her back to goal leaving the Welsh keeper motionless. The half finished with England leading Wales with nine goals to zero.
England fans were looking forward to the second half, expecting the same from the team and within two minutes of the re-start Merrifield netted to put England 10-0 up. This looked like it could be another game in which the opposition would not get a look in, however this would not be the case as Wales started building momentum and seeing more of the ball in attack. It was one of the younger Welsh players who managed to score their first goal, Sophy Coombes-Roberts converted a free position. All of a sudden the tide had changed, England were now making mistakes and missing passes, this allowed experienced Welsh attacker Ros Llyod to score two goals in three minutes including a great crease roll. The score was now 10-3 with under twenty minutes to go.
Could Wales get back into the game?
Brett managed to slow the Welsh tide down with a left hand shot to increase England’s lead, however Wales were not done, a free position from Ellie Walsh and another goal from Llyod with five minutes to go, brought the score line a little closer, but Team England closed out the reminder of the game. The final score of 11-5 in the final game gave England the gold medal. A 9-0 dominant first half was just to much for Wales to catch up from and Team England capped off a great tournament not having lost a game.
Once again, Team England Men took the field after the women, entering with a dubstep version of Oasis’s Wonderwall. In what was almost a carbon copy of the women’s game, England took the lead early again, this time attacker Colin Clive took a low to high shot, beating the Irish keeper. England would continue the attack with Ady Bennett hitting the post before Sam Russell doubled the scoring with an outside shot. Off the resulting face, both teams scrambled for the ball, England coming up with it and moving the ball quickly before Nick Watson found his range. Glen Humphreys, who has scored for England almost every time he dodged, soon found himself with plenty of time and room to pick a spot and fire in the fourth England goal. At the end of the quarter England were now 4-0 up, although Ireland had some opportunities, Ben McAllistar was equal to them all, making four saves.
The fifth goal in the second quarter, started from great defensive pressure from Andrew Baxter, ground ball picked up by Kyle Standiford, passed to Tom Gosney, finally to Nick Watson who popped the ball between the keepers legs. Gosney would get the next two goals, sandwiched by Ireland’s first, one from a shot on the run and the other an outside shot. The quarter would end with Clive netting his second with another outside left handed shot, making it 8-1 at the half-time break.
The second half started with another England goal, this time Ben Lyons found himself clear of defenders to shoot past the Ireland keeper. Colin Clive would add his third of the game to increase the lead to 10-1 before Gosney (scoring on an open goal) and Watson finishing after some quality settled play from the England attack. Ireland did manage to score their second goal of the game just before the third quarter ended.
England eased up in the last quarter, with Ireland having a few more opportunities which they took to score. In the only even quarter of the game (3-3), Ireland fought for every ball but the damage had already taken place. The final whistle started the celebrations for England with Coach Bagley receiving a Gatorade shower! Final score 15-5.
This was an amazing day for Team England, having a national team win gold is a great achievement, but for both teams to come away from a tournament, with gold medals and not losing a game shows what great athletes and coaches represented us at the European Championships. Bring on the Worlds!!!
Team England Men played 8, scored 122, conceded 40
Team England Women played 8, scored 160, conceded 19