Updated: Sep 5, 2022
Wales men achieve their best ever finish at a Commonwealth Games despite loss to New Zealand in a close 5th/6th classification match.
After New Zealand took the lead in the first quarter, a signature Gareth Furlong penalty corner drag flick brought the two sides level heading into half-time. However, a goal in the last quarter from New Zealand sealed their 2-1 victory.
Wales started the match on the back foot, with New Zealand proving dominate for the first 15 minutes at the University of Birmingham.
The Black Sticks soon took the lead as Nic Wood hammered it home from a quickly taken free hit.
Wales had two good chances to make it even before the first break. Their first penalty corner of the game saw Furlong’s drag flick deflected onto the post.
In the dying seconds of the first quarter, Ben Francis had a great chance as he found himself unmarked in the middle of the circle, but he dragged the ball a bit too far to the left and his shot found the side of the net.
The second quarter told a different story as Wales took control of the game.
Once again, their efficient penalty corner routine proved fruitful as Furlong fired it into the back of the net to bring Wales level.
The close tussle for the lead continued into the second half.
Captain Rupert Shipperley showed super vision with a great run and pass to Francis in the circle. Francis couldn’t quite get on the end of it to tap it into goal.
A magnificent triple save from Toby Reynolds-Cotterill kept Wales in the game from a New Zealand penalty corner.
However, soon after New Zealand scored on the counterattack when Hugo Inglis served the ball on a platter to Sean Findlay who tapped it in.
Wales responded by giving it their all in the final quarter.
Reynolds-Cotterill was taken off with four minutes to go to give them an extra outfield player, but they couldn’t find that all important goal to bring them even and force a shoot-out.
Speaking after the match, Shipperley said "It's really disappointing. We were toe to toe for most of the match but we just couldn't get the ball in the goal."
"We know we've got the talent to contend with these top ten sides, but we didn't take our opportunity today."
Their sixth place finish is the highest ever finish for a Welsh team in the Commonwealth Games.
They’ve had a superb tournament going toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the world. An amazing experience and a performance to be truly proud of.