England U21s finish with a flourish

England’s U21 Roses have returned from their tour of Australia with some fantastic experience under their belts after an intesnse four-day competition.

Tamsin Greenway’s U21 side embarked on a tournament against teams from Australia and New Zealand packed with talented ANZ athletes.

The squad knew this would be the tough challenge they needed to build and progress on the journey to the world youth cup in Botswana next year.

The squad that travelled to Australia was as follows:

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Imogen Allison, Rebekah Airey, Summer Artman, Brittany Coleman, Rhea Dixon, George Fisher, Brie Grierson, Alana John, Emily Hollingworth, Gabriella Marshall, Vicki Oyesola, Paige Reed, Jess Shaw, Francesca Williams

Day 1

First up, Australia!

Australia Gold 41-35 England U21

England took to court against Australia Gold knowing they were going to be a strong group of players and the England side put out solid performance.

Tamsin Greenway said after the game:

“We were leading for three quarters and got all 12 players on the court – this side was one of the three teams of Australian U20’s they have put out.”

The quarter scores were as follows (England first): 8-6; 11-8; 9-11; 7-16.

Starting seven:

GS – George Fisher, GA – Rhea Dixon, WA – Brie Grierson, C – Gabby Marshall, WD – Imogen Allison, GD – Fran Williams, GK – Summer Artman

Changes at half time were as follows: Paige Reed to GA, Jess Shaw to WA, Vicki Oyesola to GD, Rebekah Airey to GK.

For the final quarter Emily Hollingworth came on at WD and in the final few minutes a blood injury to George Fisher saw Rhea Dixon come on at GA and Paige Reed move to GS.

Match two – a new challenge…

New Zealand 43-23 England U21

This was a game to gain some great experience against an extremely strong New Zealand squad packed with ANZ athletes.

Tamsin Greenway commented:

“We had a good first quarter against the kiwis, but they came out a solid team in the second. They have five ANZ players in their squad and were a strong outfit.

“It was great experience for our girls, to play at that level.”

Starting seven:

GS – George Fisher, GA – Rhea Dixon, WA – Jess Shaw, C – Emily Hollingworth, WD – Imogen Allison, GD – Francesca Williams, GK – Summer Artman

At quarter time Alana John came on at WD, along with Rebekah Airey at GK. Half time saw the following changes: Jess Shaw to C, Brie Grierson to WA, Summer Artman to GK, Vicki Oyesola to GD and Paige Reed to GS.

For the fourth and final quarter George Fisher came back on at GS, with Rebekah Airey in at GK, Paige Reed at GA, Emily Hollingworth at C and Imogen Allison to WD.

The quarter scored (England first) were as follows: 9-8; 2-15; 5-10; 7-10.

Day 2

Match three – a close call!

England U21 35-35 NZ Maori 

The U21s came out fighting in this third match of the tournament, they led the whole way and only slipped up in the final quarter.

Tamsin Greenway summarised:

“We really should have won, we were six up going in to the last three minutes, but a couple of calls and bad plays let them sneak back into the game on the final whistle.

“A good match, with some positives to take away, but know we should have finished off the game.”

Starting seven:

GS – George Fisher, GA – Rhea Dixon, WA – Jess Shaw, C – Gabby Marshall, WD – Alana John, GD – Francesca Williams, GK – Rebekah Airey

Changes at half time saw Imogen Allison come on at WD and Summer Artman to GK

Quarter scores (England first) were: 11-5; 8-8; 9-9; 7-13.

Match four – more lessons learnt

AUS SIS SAS 30-24 England U21

Up to, and including this game, England won all of their first quarters, proving that the U21s start strong.

Tamsin Greenway upheld this observation with her post-match comments:

“A good first quarter again – we have won all our firsts! We start strong, but they were a solid unit and forced us in to errors.

“Defensively as a team we were excellent, we just struggled to convert. Another good match in places, but unfortunately we couldn’t quite get ourselves back into the game.

“More lessons learnt…”

Starting seven:

GS – George Fisher, GA – Paige Reed, WA – Brie Grierson, C – Gabby Marshall, WD – Emily Hollingworth, GD – Vicki Oyesola, GK Rebekah Airey 

Changes at half time saw Emily Hollingworth move to C and Imogen Allison come on at WD and for the final quarter Francesca came on at GK.

Quarter scores (England first): 7-5; 4-9; 7-9; 6-7.

Day 3

Match five – final round game

Australia Green 37-34 England U21

Another extremely close game for our Roses U21 side saw them edged out by Australia Green by just three goals. This time, for the first time during the competition, the young Roses lost the first quarter but finished strong to take the final quarter 10-8.

Starting seven:

GS -George Fisher, GA – Brie Grierson, WA – Jess Shaw, C – Gabby Marshall, WD – Alana John, GD – Fran Williams, GK – Summer Artman

Changes at half time saw Paige Reed move to GA, Emily Hollingworth to C, Vicki Oyesola to GD, Imogen Allison to WD and Brittany Coleman to GS

Quarter scores (England first): 9-11; 9-10; 6-8; 10-8.

Day 4

Match six – finishing with a flourish!

England U21 41-29 NZ Maori

The final day of competition saw the U21s take a strong 12-goal victory over the Maori NZ side. The determined Roses drew on their experience against these top sides to finish with their best performance of the tournament.

GS – George Fisher, GA – Rhea Dixon, WA – Jess Shaw, C – Gabby Marshall, WD – Imogen Allison, GD – Francesca Williams, GK – Summer Artman

Changes at half time saw Emily Hollingworth to C and for the final quarter Vicki Oyesola came on at GD with Brittany Coleman taking on the GS bib.

Quarter scores (England first): 11-7; 11-5; 9-7; 10-10.

That final victory put the Roses U21s fifth place in the final standings which were as follows:

  1. Australia Green
  2. Australia Gold
  3. New Zealand U21
  4. SIS SAS
  5. England U21
  6. NZ Maori

Tamsin Greenway summarised the competition:

“This was a good tournament playing against the top U21 athletes in both Australia and New Zealand.

“This experience really will help us in preparation for the World Youth Cup in Botswana next summer and gives us something to build on.”

The experience our U21 Roses have gained against some of the best U21 athletes in the world has been invaluable and a chance to test combinations and push themselves against ANZ players.

Congratulations to all of our U21 athletes and support staff for their performances in Australia – here starts the #journeytoworldyouthcup

Twitter photo credit: Narelle Spangher

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