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Wales lose to England in opening match of FIH World Cup



There is a rich and long hockey history between England and Wales since the sides first met in 1898. A relationship that was always going to spark a feisty match up in today’s opening fixture of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup.


Wales’ debut performance at a hockey world cup did not have the fairytale ending they desired as England emerged the victors with a convincing 5-0 scoreline.


The first goal was netted by Nick Park within the first 27 seconds of pushback with a strong initial early attack from England.


With Wales seeing minimal possession in the first half they defended well to maintain the 1-0 scoreline until the final minutes of the first half when Liam Ansell slotted a low dragflick into the bottom corner before adding his second of the game in the 37th minute with an impressive display of individual skill at the top of the dee.


The 40th minute saw England awarded a penalty stroke following Ben Francis’ impingement on Sam Ward, but Will Calnan sent his shot wide of Toby Reynold-Cotterill’s posts to deny England their 4th. But shortly after Phil Roper saw his name onto the scoresheet with a controversial reverse hit in the 42nd minute with GB teammate Jacob Draper questioning whether the ball went into the dee. Before Nick Bandurak slotted in England’s 5th with two minutes left on the clock.


Wales showed moments of great attacking flare with series of intricate short passes effectively evading the defence, but they could not quite find the final connecting pass or shot on target.


The intense and hot-headed nature of the game saw plenty of cards being awarded and frequent video referrals.


Jacob Draper commented that the team were incredibly disappointed over the result.


“They are a top team, but I felt we gave them too much respect from the get-go. We’ll group back together and get behind everyone and make sure come Sunday we’re raring to go.


Thank you to everyone who has supported us either remotely or in person, it honestly means the world to the whole squad.”


Head coach Danny Newcombe said


“I think what we’re most frustrated with was our performance in the first half, it took us too long to get going. England played really well and made our lives really difficult, and we didn’t reset ourselves quick enough.


We reset at half time and gave an improved performance but at that point the game was gone. It was a lesson that at this level we need to perform at our best to give ourselves the opportunity to win one of these games.”


Wales now face Spain on Sunday at 11:30am UK time

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