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Great Britain Lions head for the bronze medal

GREAT BRITAIN vs FINLAND

As highlighted here last week, the women’s game in Great Britain has taken giant leaps in coaching and athletic competency over the past couple of years. After their win over Finland in the IFAF World Championships last weekend, Team GB Women’s team definitely deserve some plaudits. Finland were ranked #3 entering the competition so we can kick that into touch.

Great Britain conceded a touchdown on Finland’s first drive that would have knocked most teams back, but not this strong unit. With touchdowns from Ruth Matta and Jessica Anderson, Great Britain took a 13-7 lead at the half.

Midway through the third period, GB’s Lucy Kirk stole a Finnish pass and returned the interception for a score with Matta adding a two point conversion.

The teams exchanged touchdowns with GB’s quarterback Jo Kilby finding Anderson to restore a lead of thirteen points in the final period, but Finland are not the top ranked team in Europe without good cause.

With three minutes remaining, they reduced GB’s lead to four points. GB recovered the onside kick, but the robust Finnish defense forced a three and out and GB’s sideline faced an anxious two minutes while their defense held the Finnish onslaught before taking a well-deserved 27-21 victory.

GREAT BRITAIN vs CANADA

After their tough game against Finland, Team GB had little time to celebrate before moving on to face the #2 ranked Canada team for the right to play the USA in the final.

The experience of a team that had been runners up in the previous tournaments showed as Canada eventually took GB apart.

Initially the game was played in the trenches as both defense dominated the exchanges. It took a broken play for Canada’s quarterback Aimee Kowalski to find her sister Alex downfield to set up the first score. On the first play of the second quarter, Cassey Brick pulled in a 12-yard touchdown pass to set the tone for the rest of the game.

Great Britain racked up 117 yards rushing in the first half, but were unable to make the necessary progress through the air and had zero passing yards compared to Canada’s 217 yards in the half. That was the difference as Canada found a way to move the chains and add some spectacular touchdown catches from Laurence Pontbriand (70 yards) and Brick (15 yards) to take a 21-0 lead after two quarters.

Julene Friesen continued Canada’s scoring in the third quarter with a 9-yard touchdown run while backup quarterback Maude Lacasse ran in the final touchdown from 16 yards.

Dropped GB passes told the sad story of their aerial assault and it wasn’t until deep in the third period that they had their first completion. Although they were on the receiving end of a 35-0 loss, Great Britain can take positives out of the game. The kick return runs of Oli Davies were impressive and the ground game of Ruth Matta was effective.

They will play Mexico for the bronze medal Friday and Great Britain stand an outstanding chance of taking the game if they maintain their poise and keep the faith.

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