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Narrow Loss For Wales Against South Africa As They Finish 8th In Commonwealth Games

IMAGE: David P McCarthy

A tough result for Wales as they lose 0-1 to South Africa in their Commonwealth Games 7th/8th classification match.

They pushed all the way to the end and created some brilliant opportunities, but just couldn’t find those all-important goals.

Wales came out slightly on top in the first quarter, creating some great chances.

Ten minutes in, Amy Burton had a glorious chance but slightly overran the pass from Izzy Webb and couldn’t quite get her touch into the goal.

Another chance followed, this time from Sarah Jones as she carried the ball around South African goalkeeper Phumelela Mbande and had her legs taken out from underneath her.

The first of a few crucial decisions went against Wales as the video umpire deemed no foul, denying Wales a penalty corner or stroke.

The second quarter saw the roles reverse slightly as South Africa had a few brighter opportunities to take the lead.

A penalty corner flick from Jean-Leigh du Toit was read perfectly by Rose Thomas, before a second slide past the left-hand side post.

A shot from Kristen Paton was sent just wide in South Africa’s best opportunity of the game so far.

The second half started strong for South Africa with several penalty corners.

Wales defended well, with Eloise Laity and Sian French effectively running down South Africa’s set play and closing down du Toit’s signature slap.

A break from Millie Holme presented another opportunity for Wales, but Burton couldn’t get her finishing touch directed into the goal.

Soon after, a magnificent team goal from South Africa gave them the all-important single goal of the game. A perfect cross into the circle from Onthatile Zulu found Lilian du Plessis on the far post, who’s touch guided the ball past Thomas and into the back of the net.

Showing their passion and determination, Wales fought all the way to the final buzzer.

With Thomas taken off in the 56th minute, Wales attacked with 11 out-field players and put constant pressure on the South African defence.

Jones appeared to force a penalty corner with just 1.5 seconds of play remaining as she lifted the ball onto the foot of the defender on the edge of the circle.

For the second time of the game, the video umpire ruled against Jones and Wales, ruling dangerous play as she deemed the ball was lifted too high. A free hit was given to South Africa which marked the end of the game.

A disappointing score line for Wales as they were hoping to finish seventh place and secure the nation’s best finish at a Commonwealth Games.

Nevertheless, it’s a performance to be proud of as they put up a good fight with higher ranked teams and finish 8th overall, equally their best ever finish from the 2010 Delhi Games and going one better than the last two Games in Glasgow and the Gold Coast.

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