England took Notre Dame to overtime in their final game of the Barcelona Tour but were pipped by the NCAA D1 side to go down 9-10.
A Will Hardy hat-trick led the English charge in a back-and-forth contest in which both sides had chances to win the match in overtime before the decisive goal.
It was a marked improvement on the first tour match in which England were beaten 4-11 by the Fighting Irish, before two wins against Norway (10-2) and Germany (10-5) set the side up for Sunday’s final game.
From the off, England were sharp in attack, moving the ball well and looking for the right shooting options.
In a competitive first quarter, whilst Notre Dame went out ahead, Hardy responded with two stinging shots from long range that left the ‘keeper with no chance and the teams going into the quarter tied at 2-2 was a sign of things to come.
As the game progressed, good work off the face-offs and defensive discipline afforded England good spells of possession with the ball and patient build up play resulted in a quick-fire double for Christian Scarpello for a 4-2 lead.
ND hit back with their own brace before Ryan Sweetman put England back ahead, receiving the perfect feed from Jimmy Yanes at X to the centre to finish.
England had a setback just before half-time, first Notre Dame levelled things up and then from the resulting face-off broke to add another moments before time to lead 5-6 at the break.
However, the boys didn’t let it get to them and came out firing after the break looking to get back into things.
Despite the offensive unit missing three players, Nick Watson and Ryan Hunns picking up injuries and Alex Russell returning early to England, the change in personnel didn’t affect the fluidity on-ball.
Jimmy Yanes was a growing threat from behind, constantly putting pressure on working the crease and made Notre Dame pay, driving round and holding off the defence to score, surviving a lengthy crease violation debate from the officials.
And England then went back ahead, again composed offence on a man-up play, right on the expiry of the penalty, Zac Guy moved in unmarked on the crease, taking a pass from Scarpello to beat the goalie for a 7-6 lead.
ND quickly responded to tie things up, but a third Will Hardy cannon from long range low into the bottom corner restored the advantage.
Things nearly got even better as Will Baxter broke up field from between the posts, playing a one-two with Tommy Kirkland for a shot on goal but the ‘keepers’ opposite number made the save to deny Baxter and go in 8-7 at ¾ time.
As had been the theme throughout, the lead swung again at the start of the 4th, two goals for ND left England trailing 8-9.
However, this group has been trademarked by its resilience late in matches and it showed once again, Scarpello making an interception in the defence, breaking quickly and with Jak Wawrzyniak joining the attack, firing over his defender’s shoulder on the bounce to tie it up.
England were on top on the final minutes of normal time but weren’t able to ever work a real goal-scoring opportunity and the game went to a golden-goal overtime.
Possession was secured by England from the face, but a crease call on the attack gave Notre Dame the ball and a fine solo effort into the top corner sealed the win for the Indiana side.
Barcelona Tour Team: Andrew Baxter, Will Baxter, Alistair Berven, Tom Bracegirdle, Tom Brook, Tim Collins, Hal Dwobeng, Zac Guy, Will Hardy, Ryan Hunns, Josh Hurry, Tommy Kirkland, Sam Patterson, Alex Russell, Sam Russell, Christian Scarpello, Josh Sherry-Brennan, Dan Smith, Ryan Sweetman, Nick Watson, Jak Wawrzyniak, Jimmy Yanes