Strong showing from England U18s NAGS in Dutch test series

In an eventful Easter weekend, England’s NAGS faced the Netherlands in a three match test series between the Boys and Girls U18s teams, take a look at how the sides fared.

U18s Girls

Game 1
England 0-1 Netherlands

England U18 Girls opened their series of matches against The Netherlands at Zwolle on Saturday 20 April with a narrow loss. The first half of the match was evenly contested, with the goalkeepers on both sides called into making smart saves. Shortly after half-time, the Dutch drove down the centre of the pitch to the top of the D where Luna Fokke unleashed a shot which evaded England ‘keeper Zara Rose at the near post. Both sides continued to press hard, but there was to be no further goals as the score finished 1-0 to the Dutch.

Game 2
England 0-1 Netherlands

The opening two quarters of England U18 Girls’ 2nd match against The Netherlands were dominated by the opposition, however, England stood firm and met every onslaught with resolute defence.

Goalless at half-time, England approached the second-half with a far more positive mindset which resulted in a competitive match with end to end play. The Dutch broke through with a 50th minute penalty stroke, and somehow held on to their lead after England failed to convert their own penalty stroke, which was awarded just minutes after going behind. Despite sustained pressure, The Netherlands held firm to close the match out 1-0 in their favour. 

NAGS v Dutch

Game 3
England 1-6 Netherlands

Despite England enjoying the early stages, The Netherlands scored twice from set pieces - one a penalty corner, and the other a penalty stroke. A little deflated, England forced a corner late in the first-half from which Becky Manton slipped the ball in at the post from a Millie Attwell delivery.

With a healthy 3-1 lead at the break, the Dutch showed no sign of letting off and slotted another three home to seal a 6-1 victory in the final game of the series.

Head Coach, Sarah Kelleher, commented: “We were really pleased with how we started the game and went into the second-half confident that we had the capability and belief to find a way to win.

“While the players showed their character by playing with intent to the very end, they were tested by the clinical connections of the Dutch, something we will learn from. 

“Overall, this has been an excellent test series with the players playing some really exciting attacking hockey and defending so well as a unit. We have come away with lots to learn from the experience and lots to build on. 

NAGS v Dutch

U18s Boys:

Game 1
England 2 – 2 Netherlands
Kentwell (47’, FG)
White (52’, FG)

Netherlands (28’, 59’)

Having trailed just after half-time, England battled back to draw 2-2 in the first match of the test. A powerful reverse stick shot put the Dutch ahead, but persistent pressure saw England draw level. Not long after, Matt White made the most of a poor trap from the Dutch defence, however the lead wasn’t to last long as the Netherlands broke away and brought the game level.

Game 2
England 2 – 3 Netherlands 
Lowrey (44’,PC)
Robson (56’, FG)

Netherlands (7’, 20’, 58’)

Similarly to the first game, The Netherlands scored first before doubling up before half-time. England battled back through a strong strike from Lowrey to get into the game, Ellis Robson then levelling with less than five minutes on the clock. However, with just a couple of minutes remaining, the Dutch sealed the win with a penalty stroke.

NAGS v Dutch

Game 3
England 3 - 2 Netherlands
Robson (19’, FG)
Taylor (33’, FG)
Phillips (55’, PC)

Netherlands (14’, 41’)

A reverse result of the second match saw England draw the test series thanks to an impressive final performance. Despite conceding first, Robson scored for a second game in a row to level the game up. Taylor then put England ahead with a good finish over the goalkeeper before the Dutch levelled from a well-executed cross. But a stylish move, coupled with resilient defending, from England confirmed the win as Phillips struck late on to tie a closely-fought series. 

Head Coach’s comments:
“There was a lot of nervous energy going around the camp, having put in two strong performances the whole group knew the final game was a real opportunity. As they have all weekend, the group worked hard and kept very much focused on the job in hand. We made a few small mistakes and there will always be room for improvement, but it was good to finish on a win and draw the series.”