England 6 – 1 Ireland
Scorers: Star Horlock 2mins PC & 60 FG; Katie Alexander 31 FG & 32 FG; Lily Beer 40 FG; Liv Breed 58 FG
England raced into an early lead and dominated play throughout the first half without being able to apply the final touch to find a second goal.
Ireland took full advantage and levelled the score just before half-time. England returned for the second half determined to regain control, duly converting five chances to get their weekend off to a good start.
England 2 – 2 Belgium
Scorers: Anna Faulstich 33 PC; Lottie Bingham 38 PC
This was predicted to be the toughest game of the weekend and indeed it was. Belgium raced into a 2-0 lead, leaving the England coaches to deliver a no-nonsense team talk at half-time.
England returned to the pitch with renewed motivation and aggression, delivering the best quarter of hockey they played over the weekend, dominating possession and levelling the score to 2-2. Despite a push back by Belgium in the final stages of the game, this remained the final score.
England 7 – 2 France
Scorers: Amy Birch 14 FG; Lottie Bingham 29 PC; Mia Moore 36 FG; Liv Breed 39 FG, Star Horlock 43 FG, Anna Faulstich 48 FG; Amelie Rees 57 FG
The first half of this game showed some similarities with the first match of the weekend. England led 2-1 at the half-time break, with a debut goal from Amy Birch and a PC conversion from Lottie Bingham but, against the run of play, allowed their opposition to get onto the score sheet.
Once again, quarter three proved to be the turning point, with the England girls turning up the pressure and scoring a further five goals. England’s seven goals came from seven different players.
With Belgium dropping points to Ireland, England topped the table at the end of the weekend.
Head Coach, Lisa Letchford, commented: “I was very pleased with the outcome of the weekend. We had identified goalscoring as a big focus for us, so I’m very pleased to see the girls deliver in such an emphatic manner. Scoring 15 goals over three matches is a significant achievement. I was particularly delighted to see so many different names on the score sheet.”
England 5 – 2 France
Scorers: Jack Webb x 2, Femi Owolade-Coombes, Sammy Dowds, Monty Neave
An aggressive start from England saw them come out with positive outcomes on goal, but a strong defensive show from France meant the deadlock couldn’t be broken in the first quarter.
The second quarter started with France keeping possession, however, a quick turnover by Nathan Gladman led to England’s first goal of the game with Jack Webb (EG) slotting home.
The start of the second half began well for England with a strong spell of possession rewarded by a penalty corner which was subsequently bundled in by Femi Owolade-Coombes. However, the two-goal lead was short lived as France then won and scored a penalty stroke soon afterwards.
Another great start in the fourth quarter saw England score a third goal through Sammy Dowds. However, another restart goal from France saw them equalise almost immediately to bring back the one goal deficit. Coming in to the last five minutes of the game the French took off their goalkeeper. England capitalised on this, extending their lead after scoring two goals in three minutes through Jack Webb’s second of the game and Monty Neave finishing from close range. Leaving the final scoreline 5-2 at the final whistle in favour of England.
England 5 – 5 Belgium
Scorers: Jake Edwards, Tom Spreckley, Jack Webb, Taheem Javaid, Will DiBiase
England started the match strongly, with good possession and threats on goal, but they couldn’t convert their chances and the first quarter finished 0-0.
Early in the second quarter, the Belgians took the lead with a stroke, but it didn’t take long for Jake Edwards to equalise with a well-executed spin goal. Belgium quickly regained the lead after the restart and the boys conceded again to a fast counterattack, leaving the game 3-1 to Belgium at halftime.
England came out strong in the third quarter, with great momentum after an early penalty corner goal from Tom Spreckley. They worked through multiple phases whilst attacking the left foot to create chances and convert them into goals from Jack Webb (TBB) and Taheem Javaid. The score ended 4-3 to England in the third quarter.
The beginning of the final quarter saw Belgium score a quickfire double to retake the lead, however England fought back and equalised with a late, well-taken drag flick from Will DiBiase.
England U18 Boys Head Coach Mark Bateman commented on the weekend “Overall, I’m pleased with the performances of the lads over the weekend; they showed some good goalscoring skills across the two matches and some mental toughness to battle back against the Belgians. We still have some fine-tuning to do before the Euros in July if we are to achieve what we hope to and we’ll go away and look to work on these as a squad over the next 6 weeks.”