Tough win over New Zealand takes England to semi-finals


England fought through a tough quarter-final match 10-8 against New Zealand to book a place in the World Championship semi-final.

Milly Home scored five goals to lead the side to victory with an MVP performance that set up a meeting with hosts Canada in the final four.

England were always ahead in the game but the All-Blacks never let the lead get to more than three, and when they made it 9-8 with 4:00 to play, the hearts were racing until England once again closed things out when it mattered.

As has been typical in England games so far, the sides traded goals in the first quarter as we looked to be entering ¼ time at 2-2 before a clean draw win and break from Liv Thomas to feed Home for her second goal with 00:05 in the quarter gave a 3-2 advantage.

After that morale boosting goal, it looked like they were set to run away from the Kiwis, as Home completed her hat-trick, followed by a score for Cece Green to open it up to 5-2.

Each side picked up another score each before the break, Home remaining hot with the final goal of the half for a 6-3 score line.

It was then going into the third quarter that New Zealand took a stranglehold on the game, putting England under pressure and turning the game into a real fight.

Unsworth and Jakeman both scored to cut the lead to one as New Zealand dominated the possession off the draw in the third.

Green scored an important goal to halt the All-Blacks run but another reply from New Zealand kept it a one-goal game at the 3/4 time.

After a slow third quarter, England used the break to regroup and inject some urgency to their attack play.

First Liv Thomas drove hard through the defence and made a well-placed shot up high, before Home did exceptionally well in tip-toeing the crease after taking a feed from Thomas to make it 9-6.

But if England thought they had finally broken the resistance, they were wrong.

New Zealand put up a direct game in the last 10 minutes driving hard to goal and managing to draw fouls from the England defence.

First Johnson and then Bolstad both scored from free position opportunities and with four minutes to play it was back to 9-8.

New Zealand won the ball from the following draw and it took a resolute defensive effort to repel their attacks, forcing the turnover and putting themselves on the brink.

England once again expertly ran down the final two minutes on the clock, moving the defence around and with time almost up Green completed her hat-trick and sent the players and supporters into raptures as they secured the last four spot.

England will now face a rematch against reigning World Champions and Championship hosts Canada on Thursday for a place in the final in the day’s marquee match, at 1am UK Time.

England Points: Milly Home (5,1), Cece Green (3,1), Liv Thomas (1,3), Georgie Southorn (1,1), Lucy Devine (0,1)