England ran out winners of what turned out to be a marathon contest against neighbours Wales in Game 2 of their U20 Euros campaign.
A 17-5 scoreline showed an emphatic win after a game that was extremely competitive for long periods before England’s quality and all-round consistency finally told.
The English lads got off to a fairly slow start and despite taking the lead through Danny Hilditch, found themselves 2-3 down after some sloppy defensive work allowing Wales to capitalise.
Josh Simpson-Pink was able to level the game up just before the ¼ time after a slick passing move, but it wasn’t until Q2 when England finally began to stamp their authority on the match.
Another for Hilditch, followed by a brace from Halliday, put England three goals up before the weather took hold and lightning in the area forced a 40-minute delay to proceedings.
When the game resumed, England continued where they left off, with Will Greaves extending the advantage before Ollie Allsop added another combined with a couple of top saves from Tom Teal to create a healthy 8-3 lead at the half.
However, after the break the concentration began to wain a little and despite an early quarter goal from Allsop, two goals from the Braddock pairing (Owain and Dylan) who formed a formidable duo for Wales closed the game to 9-5 and set off a few nerves of a comeback.
However, the lads regrouped, stepped up the intensity, and goals from Tom Frow and Danny Jones took the game away from Wales again making it 11-5.
However, soon the next stoppage in play was to come as an unfortunate accidental injury to Danny Hilditch ,who had been a big influence on the game up to that point, required lengthy treatment prompting another 35 minute delay at the end of Q3.
To their credit, England did extremely well to refocus after the injury and produced a clinical fourth quarter that gave the game an emphatic final scoreline.
Jones, Ed Loveland, Allsop (twice), Simpson-Pink and Halliday all added to England’s tally in a 6-0 shutout final quarter to put a gloss on the win finishing 17-5.
Tomorrow’s match-up against Germany (5.30pm UK Time), also 2-0, will now be crucial in deciding who tops the Pool and advances straight to the semi-finals, while the loser will have to play a quarter-final on Wednesday.