Canada comeback denies England semi-final success


England almost pulled off a stunning semi-final win before going down 7-10 to hosts Canada at the U19 World Championship.

Leading 7-5 heading into the last quarter, Canada produced a five-goal run to turn the game on its head and advance to the gold medal game at the expense of England.

The Canadians struck first just two minutes in with a Dobson free position and Ainsley Thurston doubled the lead as we approached the 10-minute mark in a fairly quiet start to the game.

But England sparked to life in devastating fashion first through Hannah Thurston collecting a feed on the cut through the middle to score on the turn before Georgie Southorn levelled things driving hard through the middle to beat Eckert in goal.

And England carried that momentum into a second quarter in which they displayed probably their best lacrosse of the Championship.

The defence offered Canada nothing tracking their runners and forcing turnovers consistently.

A fast break from another turnover forced Scott-Lynch to halt the break and was yellow carded, allowing Southorn to put England ahead for the first time.

And even after the card had expired, England maintained their dominance in attack, picking the right shooting options and another Thomas feed into Thurston ended in the same result to make it 4-2 and force Canada into a timeout.

It initially worked in breaking the four-goal streak with Child halving the deficit, but a save by Livy Schellekens halted the Canada charge and Southorn then completed her hat-trick for a 5-3 lead.

 Just before the half, Zoe Macrae picked up a yellow card and Dobson scored on the man up play with four seconds to go for a 5-4 score line at the break.

Canada looked to rally early after the interval, but they found Schellekens again in inspired form, twice denying their attack point-blank before Milly Home ghosted in free on the crease to take a Southorn feed and shovel in under the ‘keeper.

But another yellow card call went against England, this time Charlie Wilson, and Dobson got her hat-trick with the player advantage.

However, England’s relentless energy and resilience continued to shine through, responding time and again to each Canada goal and it was Anna Saunter this time, getting the step on her defender to drive through the crowd to goal at 43:33.

As the teams went in for ¾ time it was the England supporters’ voices that could be heard ringing around the Justin Chiu Stadium sensing a upset in front of the home crowd.

And with England on the brink of victory, the inevitable surge of the World Champions came with wave after wave of relentless attack.

The defence were hassling and pushing Canada to the limits as they had all game, but the continuous pressure began to draw foul calls from the officials and in a five-minute period Canada turned the game on its head with three FP goals for 7-8 game.

It was now England chasing the game and with Canada controlling possession from the draws England were left trying to force a mistake doubling the ball and Schellekens stepping up into defence.

This ultimately left gaps which Canada exploited, Shonly Wallace scoring twice into the unguarded net and dealing England a cruel defeat in a game which they controlled for long periods.

The loss sets up a rematch of the 2015 bronze medal game against old rivals Australia on Saturday, 5pm UK Time.

England Points: Georgie Southorn (3,1), Hannah Thurston (2,0), Liv Thomas (0,2), Milly Home (1,0), Anna Saunter (1,0)