After gaining promotion to Division II in the previous cycle, we knew this Championship would be a new and exciting challenge for our young athletes. Playing in a European tournament brings with it a number of challenges which our athletes handled with professionalism and integrity.
The girls responded extremely well to a number of challenges presented to them, finishing the tournament with wins over Lithuania and Italy, a draw with Poland and to only lose to both finalists Scotland and Russia is a good reflection on how the girls grew as the tournament progressed. Although disappointed to miss out on the chance of a semi-final, all credit must go to the staff and athletes in how they responded after each game as they strove to learn and develop at every opportunity. The culmination was a notable performance in our final game to beat Italy 2-0. This performance was impressive in many different aspects and contained some free flowing hockey as well as some superb discipline in applying our defensive press.
We caught up with Gwyn Williams to reflect on his first European competition as NAG Girls Head Coach “I was immensely impressed with the girls in how they applied themselves on and off the pitch – it has been an emotional week with a lot of learning and development from these players and to see their reaction at the end of the Italian win was a memory and experience they will cherish for years to come”.
“I am so pleased for the players to have such a good experience and reward for their effort and time they have put into the training leading up to the euros and also in their commitment to play the way we wanted to. Overall the tournament has been a positive experience for all involved and one we have learned a lot from. We will now take these lessons back into the NAG and development programme”.
A number of these girls now head into the development and senior programme and will be well equipped to meet the challenges of International fixtures after this experience. What is very encouraging is that 9 of this squad remain in the NAGs programme and will bring these experiences back to the wider group. 4 of this squad will be still be eligible to play in the next European Championship in 2 year’s time.
Full results and goal scorers are detailed below:
Scotland 4-0 Wales
Lithuania 0-1 Wales (Jess Hill)
Russia 6-2 Wales (Lily Roberts x2)
Wales 1-1 Poland (Lily Roberts)
Wales 2-0 Italy (Emily Drysdale, Cerys Preston)
Pictures can be found here