WALES DEFEAT SLOVAKIA IN OPENING GAME OF HOCKEY SERIES OPEN!
Wales deliver 6-1 win against Slovakia in opening match in Zagreb
James Carson wins his 50th cap
Jacob Draper and Rhys Bradshaw score their first international goals
This evening saw Wales men make a winning start in their opening game of the 2018 Open Series against Slovakia. In their first of four games, Wales comfortably defeated their Slovakian counterparts scoring six goals in the process.
Wales made a confident start in the first quarter, with Gareth Furlong scoring the opener in the 6th minute from a penalty corner followed by Jacob Draper scoring his first senior international goal minutes later. Ben Francis also found himself on the score sheet before half time after good initial work from Dale Hutchinson.
Wales continued to dominate territory and possession in the second half and despite missing numerous chances, 17 year old forward Rhys Bradshaw also scored his first senior international goal, firing home from close range. Furlong then put his side further ahead via a penalty stroke, which was awarded after the experienced defender was fouled in the Slovakian circle.
Although Slovakia did manage to claw back a goal in the final quarter through a Tomas Romanec penalty corner, Wales had the final say of the evening courtesy of a Rupert Shipperley strike.
Co-Captain Luke Hawker after the game he said:
We’re obviously pleased with the result, it always settles the squad when you make a winning start. However, there are a few areas of our game where we need to improve. The next game against Austria will offer a different challenge, so there is a need to ensure we perform accurately and efficiently in crucial areas of our game, in order to answer that challenge and secure a further positive result
Head Coach Zak Jones added:
I was pretty pleased with the overall performance and whilst a comfortable win is always a welcome start to a tournament, the bottom line is we were not clinical enough. We created numerous opportunities and although our intent was good, we are all pretty disappointed with the quality of our execution in the final third. However, we will look to improve in that area as we move through the tournament and are all looking forward to hugely important game against Austria tomorrow night
Wales will tomorrow face Austria in their second game of the tournament starting at 18:30 (BST). Watch the game here.