England U18 Boys test matches against Scotland

Rhys Smith shows his 3D skills playing for England U18 Boys

England's U18 Boys squad was in Lilleshall between 27-29 June for a series of training matches against Scotland.

Match 1

England 4 (3)
Harry Skinner 11 (PC)
Rhys Smith 19 (PC)
Andy Oxburgh 27 (PC)
Jack Clee 38 (FG)

Scotland 1 (0)
46 (FG)

Peter Scott made his debut appearance in an England shirt during this game, having been identified through the newly set up AASE system, and he made an encouraging start.

Despite some early pressure it was Scotland who came closest to scoring in the early exchanges following a swift counter attack that George Oyebode in goal snuffed out. Pressure from England resulted in 2 penalty corners converted by Harry Skinner and England Captain (for the day) Rhys Smith. The England goal was rarely threatened other than from defensive errors for the remainder of the half but England scored again from their fifth penalty corner of the half through Andy Oxburgh setting the score at 3-0 to England going into the break.

The second half started well after a change in tactics resulting in a well-worked goal finished by Jack Clee after a flowing movement out of defence. The game became scrappy with several turnovers of possession giving Scotland a way back into the game. Another defensive error led to a counter by Scotland, leaving Oyebode with little chance as the ball was passed around him into goal. The last 10 minutes of the game was very stop/start, with players from both sides suffering with cramp. Skinner produced good attacking skills through out the game as well as offering a threat at penalty corners.

Jody Paul, England U18 Boys Head Coach, said after the game: "I was disappointed with the overall performance due to the failure of the team to deliver consistently on the principals that have been worked upon recently. I'm sure there will be an improved performance in the remaining game to be played on Sunday."

Match 1

England 4 (2)
Tom Sorsby 13 (PC)
Peter Scott 25 58 (FG)
Harry Skinner 43 (FG)

Scotland 0 (0)

Scott followed on from his debut start of yesterday by scoring twice in open play and almost completed a hat trick in the final minutes of the game. Skinner was again influential with his close skills and ability to link play.

The early exchanges saw chances for both sides but better defensive play with tighter marking from the England Boys restricted Scotland's options. A number of good circle entries and opportunities led to a penalty corner that Tom Sorsby converted. Scott showed his eye for goal after 25 minutes had passed finishing a well worked attack to give a 2-0 half time lead. Scotland continued to ask questions, mainly from counter attacks, but could not convert their several good chances.

In the second half the England Boys finally produced their best hockey of the two matches, resulting from better passing and movement. Although four penalty corners were won it was left to Skinner and Scott to score from open play, both from well constructed attacking moves. Scotland forced two penalty corners late in the game, but they were well defended to ensure a clear sheet was kept.

Jody Paul, England U18 Boys Head Coach, said after the series was over: "A better defensive performance was seen today but further improvement throughout the team is required as we move into the next stages of competition. These games were a great opportunity to look a number of players, and I think it's been very beneficial. Positives were taken from our penalty corner work and circle entry outcomes.

"The upcoming Belgium matches will be a closer examination of our progress since the 4 Nations held in Mannhiem during Easter."

The Boys now play three test matches against Belgium at St Albans Hockey Club this upcoming weekend, this in preparation for the 4 Nations Tournament to be held in Santander, Spain.