WALES’ TIME ON GOLD COAST WILL INSPIRE A GENERATION!
As the 2018 Commonwealth Games draw to a close on the Gold Coast, and the dust settles on the amazing achievements of Team Wales, the performances of our hockey teams will live long in the memory as we look forward to Birmingham 2022.
The pinnacle of the sporting arena this year, Gold Coast 2018 propelled Team Wales proudly into 7th place on the overall medal table; an unprecedented overseas standing for Wales; equalling the 36-medal haul won in Glasgow 2014.
In the face of fierce competition, Wales’ national hockey teams stood defiantly tall towards the notion that World rankings should dampen their determination; powering through game after game in blistering heat and rising to the challenge.
In an explosive opening game against hockey giants, India, Wales’ women electrified the crowd with an astounding 3-2 win! An inspired Wales delivered the blow to the international heavyweights just three minutes from time, thanks to a well-placed backhanded goal from Natasha Marke-Jones. This win was only the third win from 16 games at the Commonwealth for the women and their first Pool match win since beating Malaysia 2-1 in Delhi 2010.
Wales were keen to round off their tournament on a high after winning admiration for their style of play and memorable victory against India, backed up by strong performances against England and Malaysia. Against a relentless Ghana side, Wales closed their tournament with a win and with that secured 9th position.
Wales’ men came into the competition on a high after securing 2nd place in the 2017 Europeans and with that a place in the European top division in 2019. Clearly in the most competitive group of the games Wales were keen to make their mark and play their part for Team Wales by delivering inspirational performances, and they did just that.
They opened the week with a nail baiting draw against international heavyweights Pakistan. This was backed up by a thriller against home nation rivals England that saw Wales lead at the break by 2 goals to nil to the delight of the partisan crowd, however they were edged out 3-2 after some Sam Ward magic.
The group also saw a thriller against India, where Wales lost out by 4 goals to 3 with defender Gareth Furlong taking the plaudits and a hat trick.
Going into the classification games Wales were keen to make history and get a win over perennial tournament big guns South Africa and they did with a solid 3-2 win, James Carson slotting 2 penalty corners to the delight of the crowd and his team mates.
With some inspirational performances on the biggest stage Head of Performance Dan Clements was quite rightly pleased with the performances through the week.
Looking back on Gold Coast 2018 I am immensely proud of all of our players and staff and the part they have played in the success of Team Wales this year. We talk about putting in performances and playing the Welsh Way and it was great to see both squads playing our way and delighting the crowds against higher ranked nations. Not only this, if you take into consideration the age profiles of the squads we can say the future is bright. As Team Wales we talked about inspiring the next generation and I can quite confidently say we have done this in spades.