WALES STEAL THE SHOW WITH A 3-2 VICTORY OVER INDIA IN FINALS FEW MINUTES!
During the early hours of Thursday 5th April (00:30 BST) Wales’ women’s hockey team opened the hockey competition for the 2018 Commonwealth Games; taking on first opponents and higher ranked team, India; in what can only be described as a nail biting first match!
Within the opening few minutes of the game, Wales made sure India knew they meant business, with a painfully close goal attempt from midfielder Eloise Laity and some skilful, fast paced play from the team; efforts, rewarded by a sensational first goal from Forward, Lisa Daley half way through the first quarter.
The first half ended 2-0 to Wales, courtesy of a further goal quickly tapped in by Vice-Captain, Sian French; the consequence of a penalty stroke awarded to Wales after India’s Deepika performed a bad defensive tackle against Phoebe Richards.
During the second half India gained momentum, finding their way into the game; drawing level with Wales in the third; throwing the Welsh squad into disorder. Wales’ possession looked weaker throughout the second half; with the ball primarily on the end of India’s sticks; forcing Wales into making some unfortunate errors.
The final quarter saw a disallowed goal for India on the back of a penalty corner; a mistake that cost them dearly; after Wales’ Natasha Marke-Jones smashed in a brilliant one handed third and final goal for Wales, just 3 minutes from time; sealing India’s fate!
Although India’s recovery was admirable showing some sublime skills against the Welsh defence, it wasn’t meant to be.
Reflecting on the match, Captain Leah Wilkinson:
We are incredibly proud of our performance today, we kept to our game plan throughout and that was backed up with our fight, passion and desire to never give up. We also know that this was just one game of the tournament and we need to do all we can to prepare and go again tomorrow against England.
Wilkinson not only made her debut as captain during this game, she also broke the record for most capped Welsh female hockey player; once held jointly by both Leah and former Wales Captain, Abi Welsford. Wilkinson now sits on 142 caps.
Wales will now take on England on Friday 6th April at 10:30am BST. Watch it live via BBC Sport / BBC Sport Wales.