WALES MEN REACH HOCKEY SERIES OPEN FINALS
9 – 0 win against Croatia seals second place in Hockey Series Open.
Gareth Furlong scores 4 goals
Ben Francis and Owain Dolan Gray score braces
Wales eased into the Hockey Series Finals last night with a comprehensive win over hosts Croatia in Zagreb. This result saw them clinch the second qualifying spot and they can now look forward to the next round in 2019.
Wales started strongly and were soon 3 goals to the good at the end of the first quarter courtesy of Gareth Furlong, Owain Dolan-Gray and Ben Francis. A second goal from a penalty corner from Furlong saw Wales take a comfortable 4 – 0 score line into half time.
Despite a flurry of cards dished out by the umpire for both sides, Wales continued to stretch their lead in the third quarter. Rhodri Furlong was the provider for Wales’ fifth score setting up Dolan-Gray for his second of the night before Gareth Furlong’s third and fourth of the evening took the defender to 9 goals for the tournament. The final quarter saw Francis bag his 6th goal of the week, before 17 year old forward Rhys Bradshaw scored Wales’ ninth of the game with an excellent deflected effort.
Reflecting on a the teams performance during the tournament, Head Coach, Zak Jones:
As a squad, we are delighted to have qualified for the next round. We were all a little frustrated with different aspects of our performances in the first two games. However, we demonstrated the quality we have in the squad by producing two very good performances when we needed them most. It has been a really long season and international block, so this tournament was never going to be easy, physically or mentally, especially coming so close off the back of the Commonwealth Games. I am really proud of the squad for showing such resilience and character under pressure. The athletes can now enjoy a months respite before we continue our preparations towards next years European Championships