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Scotland U16 Girls win final test to take series over Ireland

09 July 2017

Sco u16 g v Ire

Scotland U16 Girls’ won the final match of a three-match series against Ireland with a strong 2-0 victory. The result is even more positive for the Scots as the team decided to experiment during this game - it was an opportunity to test themselves in different ways against a strong opposition.

The first quarter saw Scotland play with confidence and an early drive forward by captain Ruth Blaike resulted in Lucy Smith slotting home the opening goal. It was a fine confident finish to get the game off to a great start.

Ireland responded quickly by attacking the Scottish goal but were unable to unleash a shot to test the goalkeeper. Kirsten Cannon responded with a great run up the pitch but unfortunately was not able to get her pass through to the Scottish forwards.

The Scots continued to attack and most of the remaining play in the quarter was in the Irish half. A lovely long ball from Anna Hoolaghan to Georgia Jones, who then found Ellie Mackenzie resulted in a long corner. The following pressure gained the Scots a penalty corner with a minute left in the quarter, but the strong shot was just wide of the mark.

Scotland went into quarter two with even more confidence, and an early shot from Eve Pearson zipped just wide. Ireland responded with some good attacking play however some lovely channelling from Amy Salmon saw the ball going off the side line. The Irish then won a penalty corner from the side line play, which drew a good save from Jess Smith and the ball was then cleared well by the Scotland defence.

Sco u16 g v Ire 2

Sustained pressure by Scotland in attack was rewarded by a second penalty corner, however Ireland successfully blocked the shot. The Irish frustration was beginning to show as they increased both the pace and physical aspect of their game, but they were not able to connect their passes together and so the quarter ended 1-0 Scotland.

After half time the Scotland team moved to a half court press, taking the opportunity to try out this different structure. The approach paid off quickly when they found themselves with an attacking option – a fast ball from just outside the D was touched by Zara Mason to make it 2-0.

The Scots worked hard throughout the rest of Quarter three and they continued this into the final period of the game, with an immediate surge by Ruth Blaikie just breaking down as she was unable to get a strong shot on goal. As in the previous games, the Irish responded immediately and their attack won them a penalty corner, however the strong shot was well saved by Jess Smith and cleared. The pressure continued on the Scottish defence with a further penalty corner being awarded, this time it was saved twice off the line by the defence.

A frantic final few minutes followed as Ireland pressed to get onto the score sheet. With 90 seconds to go, the normal Scottish summer had returned, and the game finished 2-0 Scotland in torrential rain.

This rounded off a really successful season for Scotland U16 Girls with the team really developing well from their first outing at the Futures Cup last September, as well as the HDM tournament, Wales, Ulster before finishing off with this Irish series. A number of the squad will be eligible for consideration for U18 squad next season, but a strong squad remains with the U16s, promising an exciting season next year.

Full squad for the Ireland tests: Jess Buchanan, Jess Smith, Ellie Stott, Eve Pearson, Georgia Crooks, Ruth Blaikie, Susannah Godfrey-Fausset, Ellie Mackenzie, Katie Swanson, Kirsten Cannon, Anna Hoolaghan, Lucy Smith, Bronwyn Shields, Cailin Hart, Corrie Hay, Zara Mason, Lucy Williamson, Georgia Jones, Amy Salmon and Holly Shepherd.

Photos by Mark Pugh and Duncan Gray

 

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