NAG BOYS TAKE KEY LEARNING FROM WEEKEND AGAINST ULSTER
The NAG boys squad were in action over the weekend, with both U16 and U18 sides taking on Ulster, at Ulster University in Jordanstown, Belfast.
With both teams playing 3 matches each, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, it was a great opportunity to see the players in competitive action and see the development in the group since the Easter test matches against Scotland.
The U16’s having drawn the first match, having been in a strong position to win the game, made no mistakes in the second and third fixture winning both games comfortably; playing some positive and mature hockey, which allowed them to dominate the game.
Head Coach Lee Ible was delighted with what he witnessed:
It was great to see a Wales U16 team play with such maturity and understanding. They implemented the tactics we have been working on and played some great hockey in the process. There are still lots of technical things to work on and tidy up, but I am really pleased with the game awareness and intelligence the boys are showing
In contrast the U18’s could not put a win on the board. Having lost the first two matches, they battled hard to earn a 4-4 draw in the final match. Despite the two losses, Wales were competitive and were always in the contests.
Ible put the results down to the teams inability to maintain good quality possession:
Our ball handling wasn’t great over the three games, it was much better in game three, but if you don’t consistently handle the ball well you can have all the tactics and plans in the world but they won’t matter. We were far too loose in possession and it’s something we need to focus hard on over the next two camps before the Euros. You can’t take for granted the importance of trapping and passing the ball with care and quality, because if you don’t, at international level your errors get punished
Ible was also keen to praise the staff who supported the boys over the weekend:
6 games in 3 days is tough, the staff work tirelessly to make sure the boys are prepared as best as they can be. We have a great group of people leading the boys and the boys respond well to them. What people don’t see is the work they do before and after matches, the matches are often the easiest part of the role
The squads now return to training this weekend. With selection for the U18 Euros, in Cardiff on the horizon and the Futures Cup, for both U15 and U17 age groups, in the calendar for the end of August, it’s a relentless phase for the NAG boys programme.
Wales U16 2 – 2 Ulster U16
Wales U18 0 – 2 Ulster U18
Wales U16 3 – 1 Ulster U16
Wales U18 2 – 4 Ulster U18
Wales U16 4 – 1 Ulster U16
Wales U18 4 – 4 Ulster U18