Wales men drew 2-2 against England in their first match of the EuroHockey Championship 2019.
It was tense as Wales took on next door neighbours, England, in their first match of the EuroHockey Championship, who were ranked 19 places higher than Wales going into the tournament.
Moving into the first quarter, it became apparent that Wales got promoted to the league for a reason, as the ball fell into Wales’ possession for 50.4% of the time. Whilst Wales had an early attempted shot, England went on to attempt numerous shots but Wales’ defence were on red alert, as they blocked any attempts of England hitting the back board.
England were pushing hard for a goal and Wales fought back as goalkeeper James Fortnam was quick to get in the way of England’s attack. Despite Wales’ efforts, at 26′ England were awarded a penalty corner which they capitalised on, as #13 Sam Ward bagged England’s first goal of the match, making it 0-1 to England.
HALF TIME: WALES 0 – 1 ENGLAND
Moving into the second half one nil down, Wales came back stronger as they burst onto the pitch with extra fuel in the tank. They were soon awarded a penalty corner where Wales’ #18 Gareth Furlong whipped the ball past England’s goalkeeper in triumph to make it 1-1.
Moments later at 34′ Wales’ Jonathon Gooch picked up a yellow card, but England couldn’t turn their advantage into points.
As both teams went head to head for the remainder of the 3rd quarter with no avail, the fourth and final quarter was explosive, leaving fans on the edges of their seats as Wales took a second goal as England’s Henry Weir puts the ball into the wrong net. The goal was named to Wales #10 Rhodri Furlong as the last player to touch the ball in an epic turn of events as Wales took the lead for the first time in the match at 2-1.
Although the game wasn’t over yet, as in the final two minutes at 58′, England scored their second goal from a penalty corner as the score tipped to 2 all.
Despite the team’s effort, England snatched Wales’ win and settled with a draw in the final minutes of the game, as eager fans experienced a rollercoaster of emotions.
FULL TIME: WALES 2 – 2 ENGLAND
After gaining promotion to the EHC from EHC II in 2017, newbies on the block, Wales, were lowest ranked in their pool group. However, in their opening match, they have proved they are not to be underestimated after maintaining good possession and a strong defence against England throughout the match to come out with a draw!
Wales’ next match is against Spain on Sunday 18th August at 12.30pm (BST).
Diolch Sport 101 for sponsoring the team throughout the tournament.