England continued their preparations for the hockey World Cup with a 3-0 win over Belgium at Bisham Abbey on Friday afternoon.
Two goals from Birmingham University’s Lily Owsley and one from Beeston’s Ellie Watton helped England to victory – and they also won 4-3 in a post-match shootout trial, staged to give both sides added practice and confidence.
“There are still a lot of things to improve, but we’re making progress in all areas,” said coach Jason Lee. “It was satisfying to beat a good team 3-0, especially considering that they’ve just come away from playing in the champions challenge in Glasgow last week.”
England took the lead in the 13th minute when Lily Owsley was on hand to score near the baseline after the ball had been quickly switched from left to right, and she bagged a second goal – this time beating two defenders and latching onto the rebound after her initial shot had been saved.
And Ellie Watton scored their third and final goal with two minutes remaining. Good build up from Sophie Bray and Alex Danson led to Watton’s chance, which she took on the reverse stick from about ten yards out.
Belgium weren’t without their own chances; they had a shot saved off the line by Sally Walton in the first half, and hit the post in the second half, but couldn’t break through some strong defending from England.
After the hooter sounded, despite England’s win the two sides also played pre-arranged penalty shuffles. The hosts again came out on top, winning 4-3.
The two sides will meet again on Saturday in a non-capped friendly fixture.