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Saturday, September 25, 2010

GB Beat Italy in Four Nations Tournament

GREAT Britain ended their Four Nations Tournament campaign on a high, beating rivals Italy 31-21 on Saturday afternoon.

Having lost narrowly to eventual Tournament winners Portugal as well as Switzerland, GB were determined to secure a win, and got off to the best possible start as pivot Lyn Byl smashed home on 19 seconds.

But the Italians matched their scoring and took the lead at 4-3 through right-wing Carmen Onnis just after three minutes which left-wing Cristina Lenardon extended to 5-3 soon after.

However, GB proceeded to step up their game, scoring a number of goals through the fast-break to score six unanswered goals in a fantastic spell with Byl, Kelsi Fairbrother, Nina Heglund, Britt Goodwin and captain Lynn McCafferty all getting on the scoresheet.

Elena Barani was then shown a red card for the Italians after a verbal outburst at the officials, and with only six players on the court for the duration of her suspension Italy started to open up, finding themselves 12-5 down after Heglund, Goodwin and Yvonne Leuthold made their chances count.

Italy had gone into the game having conceded the most goals in the tournament but boasted the tournament top scorer Silvia Scamperle, and it was Scamperle who, alongside teammate Carmen Onnis, tried to get the Italians back in it going into the break, but Britain held tight and McCafferty and Amondine Webb’s strikes saw them go into the break four-up.

Following the break, GB came out firing - particularly pivot Amondine Webb who scored twice in quick succession, Holly Lam-Moores and Webb then exchanged strikes to put the hosts 20-13 up early on in the second half and further strikes by Ewa Palies and Zoe van der Weel lead to a frustrated outburst from the Italian Head Coach Tamas Neukum who was shown a yellow card.

GB Head Coach Jesper Holmris then saw his side enter another excellent period of play with less than ten minutes left on the clock as they neared their target of scoring 30 goals.

Van der Weel scored a great goal on the fast break, quickly followed by Yvonne Leuthold, and Louise Jukes (pictured) strikes on the break as well, but the highlight in this passage of play was a fantastic curling strike from Holly Lam-Moores following Jukes’ interception of the Italian forwards on the halfway line, which lead to wild celebrations from the GB bench as they sensed not just their target of goals being scored but a win being close.

Lam-Moores then stepped up again just moments later to make the score 30-21 with less than a minute remaining and despite a two-minute suspension for Nina Heglund 30 seconds from the end the Italians couldn’t find the back of the net and Van der Weel rounded off the match and the tournament with a strike following another Jukes interception to send the crowd into raptures and the GB squad home with a great victory.

Report by Andrew McSteen
Pictures by Michele Davison

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