England beat Canada in first of two match series

Ashleigh Ball scored twice against Canada in the first of a two match series - credit Ady Kerry

Today England women took a convincing 6-1 win over Canada in the first of two capped matches played at Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre.

Buckingham’s Zoe Shipperley makes her England debut and Ashleigh Ball scores twice in a dominant England display.

Ashleigh Ball 13, 23 (PC, FG)
Susannah Townsend 18 (FG)
Sophie Bray 33 (FG)
Susie Gilbert 50 (FG)
Hollie Webb 63 (PC)

CANADA 1 (1)
Kate Gillis 6 (FG)

As part of their Commonwealth Games preparations Canada are spending a week at England Hockey’s headquarters - Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre. England will face the world number 23 side four times over the course of the week, with two capped international matches and two training games* as preparations for the World Cup start to build.

After securing promotion into the Investec Premier Division with her club side, Buckingham’s Zoe Shipperley made April a month to remember as she made her England international debut.

The sides pushed back at 11am this morning as the first capped game got underway and bar a slightly shaky start for Jason Lee’s team, the result went with the form-book as England secured a convincing 6-1 victory over the visitors.

Speaking after the game, England Head Coach Jason Lee said, “It was good to build on some patterns of play we’ve been working on in training and to put those patterns into match play. Even more pleasing was to see those approaches successfully converted into goals. There was a strong intensity to a lot of our play today and it gives us a good platform to build on for the rest of the week.”

Canada’s Captain Kate Gillis got her side off to a dream start as she scored in the sixth minute with a tap in at the far post after a cross was fired in from the left hand side.

Despite being a goal down England held their nerve and it wasn’t long before they started to dominate. Four more goals followed in the first half, all from England, with Ashleigh Ball registering a brace, Susannah Townsend deflecting in from an Alex Danson effort and Sophie Bray finding the target just before the break.

Canada held England off for the opening period in the second half, but eventually Lee’s side found a way through with Susie Gilbert and Hollie Webb both adding to the final score-line to make it 6-1.

England’s next capped game against Canada will take place on Wednesday or Thursday this week and is subject to squad availability.

* Training matches are unofficial games which are not capped – the games provide an opportunity for performance teams to significantly alter their approach to a match if they wish to. For example this could be naming more than 18 players in the squad, altering the length of the match and trying out different tactics/approaches etc. The International Hockey Federation does not recognise these matches and no report or press release will be issued.