The Final day of competition at the 2016 Home Internationals saw the highly anticipated clash between the two on form senior teams England and Wales. Both teams entered the final day undefeated, effectively this was the final of the competition – winner would take all. After 2 days of torrential rain the sun was beginning to shine, giving the well warn pitches some respite and the promise of high level, fast paced flowing lacrosse.
England began with vigour securing possession from the draw and opening the scoring in the first minute through Claire Faram’s conversion off a Laura Merrifield assist. Home fans could have expected this to be a similar storyline, England taking the lead and not looking back, however Wales responded well and enjoyed possession for a large part of the first half. Cheered by the very vocal body of Welsh supporters they were able to convert their possession and waves of attack into points by scoring 4 unanswered goals (Ross Lloyd-Rout, Iona Dryden, Becky Thomas & Sophy Coombes-Roberts). During this period England were knocked off their stride, the Welsh pressure hurried the England team who made some uncharacteristic errors. With 13 minutes of the half remaining and a scoreline of 1-4 England needed to affect the momentum Wales were building. England’s Team Director Phil Collier called what proved to be a key time-out.
England emerged from the huddle a steadied team. For the remaining period of the first half the English defence worked tirelessly to keep the Welsh scoreline to 4. England were able to transition quickly through the athleticism of their midfield from a strong defence to a potent attack, breaking down an aggressive Welsh defence twice (Jenny Simpson & Claire Faram) to go into the Half-time break within one goal, a score of 3-4 Wales.
England started the second half in the fashion they finished the first, disciplined and consistent. The defence continued their stellar work rate, always ready to slide, keeping the constantly searching Welsh attack at bay. England’s performance was truly a team effort illustrated by the number of names on the score sheet. England have attacking threats in numbers from all areas of the pitch and were able to apply continued pressure on the Welsh defence throughout the second half. It was England’s attacker Jenny Simpson who scored the equaliser 5 minutes into the second period, her fellow shooter Torz Anderson adding to the scoreline shortly after. With a score of 4-5 Becky Thomas of Wales received a yellow card giving Sophie Brett a free position, she slotted the goal. Wales made England work for every ball but as defence stepped up a gear and possession grew so did the number of looks at goal, expertly finished by an attacking unit growing in confidence. England ran out the remainder of the game, holding the opposition to just 1 goal in the second half, eventually winning the game (5-11) and being crowned Home Internationals 2016 champions.
Congratulations to England’s Laura Merrifield for winning the Most Valuable Player of the tournament award. The MVP is decided by coaching representatives from all competing nations.
Congratulations to Lucy Grant who won the most improved player – Jan Guilbride Cup
Congratulations to Jenny Simpson who earned her first cap for England Lacrosse at the Home Internationals.
Congratulations to Ros Lloyd – Rout of Wales for earning her 100th cap during the Home Internationals.
England scorers – Claire Faram (3), Jenny Simpson (3), Torz Anderson(1), Sophie Brett (3), Camilla Hayes (1)
Welsh scorers – Ros Lloyd-Rout (2), Iona Dryden (1), Becky Thomas(1), Sophy Coombes-Roberts(1)