Women's England v. Scotland Indoor Test Series

'A good positive experience and good practice ahead of the Europeans, and for some of the players it was their first indoor hockey,' was how team manager Dan Tilley summed up the final results of the Women's Scotland v. England International Indoor Test Matches, held at the Lagoon Centre, Paisley last weekend.

The English side started well after having had to battle through heavy snow from across the border, and managed to secure a 2-1 win over Scotland Women in the opening match on Friday evening.

England's Sam Quek goes past Scotland's Linsey Glass during the International Indoor Tri-Nation tournament at Fleming Park, Eastleigh, December 2008A goal in the final second from Sam Quek from a penalty corner gave England victory over their hosts, but in truth the win should already have been wrapped up with two penalty strokes having been missed by England earlier in the match.

A tense start from both sides ensured the match remained goalless at half time, although Georgie Twigg – making her England Indoor debut – had a stroke saved mid-way through the first period.

Leicester’s Kerry Williams had a chance to put England ahead with a 25th minute penalty stroke, but she hit the post with her effort and the game stuttered on towards a goalless draw.

However, Twigg broke the deadlock with a goal from open play on 38 minutes, and although Scotland levelled a minute later with Kareena Marshall scoring from a penalty corner, there was still time for England to salvage a win.

Bowdon Hightown’s Quek found the net with a penalty corner in the final second of the game to take the win.

Afterwards, Team manager Dan Tilley said: “There were some positives and negatives to come out of the game. It has been a difficult day for travel with the snow across the country.

“Because of that people were a bit tired and it wasn’t a particularly polished performance. But having said that we’re pleased to get a win, and I’m hoping that after a good rest overnight we will bounce back and play better tomorrow.”

After a good start though England had a mixed day on the second day, losing their first game and winning their second which set up for an exciting final day.

On Saturday morning they suffered a disappointing 5-2 defeat. England missed a penalty stroke on 17 minutes, and it was instead the Scots who drew first blood with Vicky Bunce scoring from open play for the Scots on 18 minutes – the first goal Becky Duggan had conceded in 158 minutes of play.

England hit back on 31 minutes through a penalty corner from Sam Quek, but the second half turned into a nightmare for England as the Scots scored on 26, 33 and 35 minutes, taking a 4-1 lead and forcing England to replace goalkeeper Maddie Hinch with Chloe Strong as kicking back.

The all-or-nothing ploy failed to salvage the match, with Bunce adding one more goal on 39 minutes before Lauren Turner pulled one back in the final minute.

Angry at the defeat, England bounced back in style in the afternoon’s clash, playing with a lot more structure and patience and winning 1-0.

Captain Kerry Williams scored from a penalty corner after seven minutes, and that proved enough to beat the Scots.

However, they had to endure a tough final few minutes, with Ashleigh Ball having been yellow-carded and Scotland going to a kicking back to outnumber England 6-4 in the field.

“After the disappointment of the morning’s defeat it was a good, disciplined performance,” said team manager Dan Tilley. “Our patience was good and we had a lot more structure.

“Going to kicking back was a gamble, but we traded one apiece so it wasn’t a complete disaster. We’ve got the European Championships coming up next year, so we wanted to practice it before then.”

But it was all over on Sunday when they lost 6-2 after having led at half time.

Scotland battled back in style from a 1-0 deficit thanks largely to a hat-trick from Vicky Bunce, leveling the series at 2-2 after three days of action at the Lagoon Centre.

Ashleigh Ball takes on her Scottish opponent during England v Scotland at the indoor international tri-nations tournament at Eastleigh, December 2008England began well enough with Kerry Williams scoring from open play after nine minutes, and they doubled their lead shortly after half time with another open play goal, this time through Ashleig Ball.

However, Scotland pushed hard and got back into the game in the very next minute, Bunce scoring from open play. Julie Bryce added goals on 28 and 34 minutes, and who Amy Brodie put Scotland 4-2 ahead with five minutes remaining, England knew they had to do something.

They went to a kicking back and withdrew their keeper, but the plan backfired with Bunce scoring twice more from penalty corners.

“We played very well in the first half,” said team manager Dan Tilley. “The Scots pushed hard in the second half and gained the upper hand.

“We chased the game and took our goalkeeper off and went for it. Unfortunately they scored a couple of corners which are difficult to defend with a kicking back.

“It’s still been a good positive experience. It’s been good practice ahead of the Europeans, and for some of the players it was their first indoor hockey.

“Obviously the seniors weren’t here, they’ve been out in Argentina, so when they return it will bolster the squad and we’re confident ahead of the Europeans.”

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