Four England teams began their 2019 Home Internationals campaign on Day 1 with both Women’s senior and junior sides in action.
The Under 19A side opened up the tournament with the first game against Wales in what proved to be a nail-biting encounter to get things underway in Aldershot.
With the U19 World Cup training squad on tour in the USA, this year’s tournament gave an opportunity to the girls in the National Academy to represent England and gain international experience.
And it was England who started the brightest, going into a 4-2 lead through a Mai Ledsham brace and goals from Ella Malik and Mia Rogers.
However, a yellow card shown to Bryony Smith for a check to the head swung the momentum of the match with Wales scoring twice with player advantage to level the game.
Wales then snuck ahead through Elinor Harris early in the second quarter and despite an Amelia Hatlapa goal for England, Wales led 5-6 at the interval.
The second half was to prove a much cagier affair with England holding much of the possession but failing to make it count.
The sides continued to trade goalscoring efforts but vitally Wales always kept their noses in front and with five minutes to play and Wales 8-6 up, England launched an onslaught on the Wales goal.
Ledsham was able to get her hat-trick with just over three minutes to play and although the hosts continued to push for an equaliser, they came up against an inspired Eleanor Williams in goal who made numerous saves to thwart the English attack and sealed a well-earned Wales victory.
Final: England 7-8 Wales
England Scorers: Mai Ledsham (3,1), Amelia Hatlapa (1,1), Ella Malik (1,0), Mia Rogers (1,0), Ella Atkinson (1,0), Emily Oram (0,2), Bella Frewer (0.1).
It was then the turn of the Senior Women’s side to get underway against guest nation Germany.
The match proved to be an exhibition of attacking lacrosse from the home nation as they played a high tempo, aggressive game to great effect.
Claire Faram opened the scoring after just 00:40 and it was one-way traffic from that point on. Camilla Hayes had a hat-trick just before half-time and Alex Drewe had posted another two as England completed a first-half shut out to lead 12-0.
Kim Dressendoerfer finally got Germany on the scoresheet with the first goal of Q3, but it signalled no shift in momentum as England went on another 10-goal streak as they flexed their attacking muscle.
England were particularly effective from behind working well to create a number of goals for oncoming cutters, and a slick two-man play between Jenny Simpson and Drewe, who lead with five goals, produced possibly the goal of the game with a quick-stick finish.
Germany kept going until the end, Laura Koschorek adding a second goal before Anna Featherstone closed out the game for her second goal as England ran out 23-2 winners.
Final: England 23-2 Germany
England Scorers: Alex Drewe (5,1), Camilla Hayes (4,0), Jenny Simpson (2,3), Laura Merrifield (2,2), Kirsten Lafferty (2,1), Anna Featherstone (2,0), Tilly Shires (2,0), Torz Anderson (1,3), Claire Faram (1,0), Tilly Foster (1,0), Liv Wimpenny (1,0)
There were also big wins for the England Women’s Senior B team who defeated Scotland 17-2 in a match that was cut six short due to an unfortunate injury to Antonia Hudson that required medical attention; and the Under 19 B side who also beat Scotland, 24-1. We would liek to wish Antonia all the best towards her recovery.
England Scorers Senior B: Katie Lehovsky (3,1), Philly Stacey (3,0), Julie Wise (3,0), Sophie Tamblyn (2,2), Laura Beaman (2,0), Eliza Watson (2,0), India Chadwick (1,1), Nancy Day (1,0)
England Scorers U19B: Sofia Wise (7,1), Issy Devine (7,1), Bella Baylis (3,0), Lucy Evans (2,2), Anna Boyne (1,0), Izzy Brand (1,0), Zoe Lovibond (1,0), Millie Parsons (1,1), Ella Lovibond (1,0), Coco Harpin (0,1)
Other scores from Day 1:
Senior Women A: Wales 12-5 Scotland
Senior Men A: Wales 11-2 Scotland
Under 19 A: Scotland 9-9 Germany
Day 2 Schedule:
09:30 - Scotland - Wales - Under 19 B
11:00 - England - Scotland - Senior Men
11:30 - Scotland - Wales - Senior Women B
12:00 - Scotland - Germany - Senior Women A
14:30 - Wales - Germany - Under 19 A
14:30 - England - Scotland - Under 19 A
15:00 - England - Wales - Senior Women A