England women crowned Investec London Cup Champions

ILC story women win
England 2 (1)
Nicola White 3 (PC)
Sam Quek 65 (PC)

South Africa 1 (1)
Jade Mayne 16 (FG)

England took on South Africa in the women’s Investec  London Cup Final and would have been hoping to repeat their earlier result against the southern hemisphere side after winning 2-1 in the pool stages.

England started strongly winning the first penalty corner of the game within 2 minutes of push back, which lead to Nicola White opening the scoring – deflecting home a low drag flick from Sam Quek. England continued to create chances with the majority coming through Alex Danson, but these chances were on the break as South Africa applied a lot of attacking pressure on the English defence. 

Their pressure paid off as Jade Mayne capitalised on another South Africa attack, striking the ball into the back of England’s net past goalkeeper Maddie Hinch. England were able to create a few more chances through Danson and Wood, but strong South Africa defence prevented another breakthrough. Kate Richardson-Walsh produced some strong defending of her own to keep the scoreline at 1-1 going into half time.

Going into the second half, England again won the first penalty corner and came close through Susannah Townsend after she hit the post with a deflection of the captain’s sweep into the circle. However, South Africa continued to press and won their first penalty corner of the game in the 42nd minute that produced a superb save from Kirsty Mackay, who replaced Maddie Hinch in England’s goal at half time. Spurred on by the crowd, England created several more chances, but were unable to breakthrough South Africa’s solid defence. 
University of Birmingham’s Lily Owsley found a way through with six minutes left on the clock, winning a penalty corner that was slipped left to Sam Quek who slotted it home to take the lead. In the last five minutes both teams had chances, with the most notable being England’s Sophie Bray hitting the cross bar in the 64th minute. Despite one last South Africa chance, England held on to win the women’s competition 2-1, a repeat of the scoreline earlier in the tournament. 

The result means England will go into the Commonwealth Games with renewed confidence following their under-performance at the recent World Cup in Holland, and it was fantastic to see the players taking so much time after the game to sign autographs for their young fans, who left delighted that they’d been able to meet their heroes. 

Alex Danson, who also won the Player of the Tournament and Top Goalscorer awards, said after the game: “We have built a huge amount of confidence in this tournament to take into the Commonwealth Games, which of course is less than two weeks away.”

Lucy Wood, who was playing in her debut tournament added: “It’s been an incredible week. And it’s been a whirlwind for me in the last two weeks, going through the junior age groups and then suddenly getting called up for this really has been amazing.”

England Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh talked about the England's new legacy venue on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: "I think the new stadium is fantastic. It's nice that the public can walk through the park and see where the hockey was played during the Olympics, and then they come here and the venue and seating are brilliant, it has a fan park, the changing rooms are amazing, the warm up pitch - I'm really proud that we've got this venue."