Shrewsbury had a very good start to Day One – which was played as a round robin in sections, with seven schools in each – and scored a convincing 7-2 win over Rendcomb. Goals came from Georgia Kannreuther (4); Phoebe Wasdell, Izzy Morris and Laura Elliott.
Our toughest game of the day came next, against Berkhamstead. Often one of the top teams overall, they started strongly; but although they broke through a couple of times, our strong defence led by goalkeeper Mimi Mason-Hornby kept the score to 0-2 at half-time. Shrewsbury then had a great start to the second half, with Wasdell scoring a brilliant goal to make it 1-2. It stayed like this for some time, but the excellent Berkhamsted attack continued to put pressure on the defence and then got four goals in the space of three minutes. Shrewsbury didn’t lose heart and continued to play good lacrosse, which was rewarded with a goal from Kannreuther to give a final score of 2-6. Not a bad result against a top team.
Games 3 and 4 were much easier for Shrewsbury and although against slightly weaker opposition, Shrewsbury maintained their own high standard and structured play. Excellent defending from straight defence Ella Windle, Lucy Lees and Lara Ockleston meant two clean sheets with a 7-0 victory over Glenalmond and an 11-0 victory over Denstone College. Goals were from Wasdell (8); Kannreuther (4); Morris (3); Poppy Collingwood-Cameron (2) and Georgie Nicholas.
Game 5 against St Swithun’s was a much tougher game. They had won all their games thus far, so we knew it was going to be a hard match. Shrewsbury went 0-1 down in the first minute, but quickly got this back to 1-1 with a great goal from Wasdell. It was end-to-end lacrosse for the next five minutes, with neither attack being able to break the defence. Finally Kannreuther scored to make it 2-1 to Shrewsbury, but soon came the follow-up from St Swithun’s to make it 2-2 at half time.
Shrewsbury started the second half brilliantly, with a superb goal from Morris to edge in front. Unfortunately, having worked so hard in the first half, Shrewsbury started to tire. St Swithun’s took advantage of this, utilising their numerous substitutes, and scored two goals in quick succession. Shrewsbury tried to get back in the lead, but were left a little open at the back and conceded two more goals in the final two minutes to finish 3-6.
We had to pick ourselves up for the final group match against St Helen’s Northwood. A bit of a scrappy first half gave us a 2-1 lead at half-time (Kannreuther and Wasdell). We capitalised on this in the second half though to score two more goals (Wasdell and Morris) to give a deserved 4-1 win.
This result placed us third in our section with four wins and two losses and thus we entered Division 1 on Day 2, narrowly missing out on qualification for the Championship Division.
Day 1 Goal Tally: Wasdell 15; Kannreuther 11; Morris 6; Nicholas 1; Elliott 1. Goal difference of +19.
With all teams seeded, Day 2 was always going to be anyone’s game. Shrewsbury were in Division 1, Pool D with Walthamstow, Sherborne and Haberdashers’ Aske’s.
Game 1 against Walthamstow was end-to-end throughout. Shrewsbury went 2-0 up with goals from Kannreuther, but Walthamstow came back to make it 2-2. This gave them momentum and Shrewsbury found themselves 2-4 down at half-time. In the second half, the defence kept Walthamstow at bay, with great support from Annabel Naylor and Sophia Dixon. This allowed the midfield players of Poppy Collingwood-Cameron and Izzy Morris along with Laura Elliott to take the ball up the pitch and give our attackers a chance to hit back. They took their chances brilliantly as Kannreuther added another to her tally and captain Wasdell got her first of the game. Kannreuther scored another, before Walthamstow took one back to make it 5-5 with one minute to go. Leading by example, Wasdell worked the ball into the fan, wrong-footed the defender and scored the decisive goal. A great 6-5 win and a fantastic start to Day 2.
We knew that Game 2 was going to be just as tough. Sherborne had also won their first match and were keen to lead the group. As predicted, it was a high-quality, extremely competitive game. There was nothing between the two teams and it finished 2-2, with goals again from Wasdell.
Our final group match was against Haberdashers’ Aske’s. We started strongly and were 3-0 up at half-time. Excellent support play from Sophia Bureau and Mollie Matthews allowed us to move further into the lead in the second half and the game finished 5-1 (consistent Wasdell and Kannreuther, as ever, the scorers). This meant we finished top of our group so would hopefully have an easier draw moving into the last-16 knockout rounds.
Our last-16 match was against Claremont Fan. This was a slightly easier draw, but it would be important to take the lead early and stay in control. Shrewsbury did this with an emphatic 6-0 win: five goals from captain Wasdell this time, who was on fire, and one from Nicholas. This gave us a place in the quarter-finals – somewhere Shrewsbury had never been before!
St George’s Harpenden were the opponents and it was a strongly contested game from the outset. Shrewsbury went 1-0 up, but that was quickly countered as St George’s hit back to make it 1-1. It was end-to-end lacrosse for the rest of the half, with both defensive units staying strong, but just before half-time St George’s snuck in to make it 1-2.
The second half went much the same way as the first, with both teams playing outstanding lacrosse. With one minute to go, captain Wasdell equalised to take the final score 2-2. This took us to sudden death extra time! St George’s had the first attacking play in extra time and it took a fantastic save from Mason-Hornby to keep Shrewsbury in the game. Phoebe Wasdell took the ball through midfield and scored an amazing goal to give us a place in the semi-finals.
Our semi-final was against St Paul’s School. A previous Championship team, we knew we had our work cut out. As the rain continued to pour down, Shrewsbury played some of their best lacrosse of the weekend to give us a score of 2-2 at half time. In the second half, St Paul’s were constantly on the attack and although our defence worked hard to limit their chances, they were just too strong. So the final score was 2-4 to St Paul’s, who went on to win the final.
Day 2 Goal Tally: 16 for Wasdell 16; Kannreuther 7; Nicholas 1. Goal difference of +10.
This was a fantastic effort from Shrewsbury and our best ever performance at the Nationals. Great credit is due to the whole team, especially captain Phoebe Wasdell who led the team brilliantly.
Many thanks to all our supporters who braved the atrocious weather, and to Katie Bird for her coaching and support. And sincere thanks to Paul Coups, who has been an outstanding coach and enabled the players to understand and achieve their potential.
Assistant Director of Sport