England 17 – New Zealand 1
Team England Lacrosse were up bright and early for our first game of tour against New Zealand. We arrived at the pitches and felt right at home as the rain poured down, but this didn’t dampen our excitement to finally play. The game started with a self-draw by Laura Merrifield to get England off to a solid start and after a short period of attack it was Merrifield again who struck first with a drive and the first England goal. Claire Faram grabbed the second draw for England which shortly led to a second goal from Jenny Simpson, assisted by Lucy Lynch. The scoring streak continued for England as Laura Merrifield drew a foul and assisted Sophie Brett, from her free position, which was quickly succeeded by a goal from Florry Saunders, assisted by Jenny Simpson and a second Saunders goal, assisted by Torz Anderson. Lytollis added to the tally with a bullet of a shot from a one-step free position.
As the game progressed Team England continued to display their dominance all over the pitch with some incredible 1 on 1 defence by Emma Oakley and great saves and clears by Izzy McNab in goal. Ashleigh Gloster continued to put pressure on the New Zealand attack causing a turnover to set off a clockwork England transition, resulting in another Saunders goal at the other end. The first half finished with more fantastic transition from England as the defence continued their stellar unit work to create turnovers and a Lynch behind-the-back pass in the attack rounded off the first half in style.
The second half saw more teamy action starting with two assists (Simpson to Lytollis and Morrill to Simpson) to stand us in good stead for the last 30 minutes. As England continued to win the draw and transition into the attacking end, the New Zealand goalkeeper made a series of great saves to win the ball back for NZ. England’s ride proved effective turning the ball over numerous times, but New Zealand converted a quick break into their first goal of the game. New Zealand stepped up and proved competitive on the draw and in the midfield taking the ball into their attacking end for periods of time, however, further solid unit work, 1 on 1 defence and great saves from Sally Keogh in goal helped England turn the ball over and return to their attacking third.
Quick ball movement created space within the NZ zone for Torz Anderson to feed Laura Merrifield for another goal and more assists came from Saunders, Simpson and Brett to Lytollis, Morrill and Simpson to add three further goals to the score sheet. In the final seconds of the game, Asha Niven caused an amazing turnover in defence before Lytollis stormed up the pitch, passing to Anderson who assisted Morrill for the final goal of the game.
The final score against New Zealand was 17-1 to England and we would like to thank the New Zealand team for an exciting and competitive first game of the tournament. We wish them all the best for the rest of their games.
Team England v New Zealand: