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Wales Women Finish Second In EuroHockey Qualifiers With Decisive Win In Final Match


IMAGE: World Sport Pics & EuroHockey Federation

Wales women beat Croatia 8-0 in their last match at the EuroHockey Qualifiers in Durham.


They claim silver at the tournament and will play in the second tier (Division B) of European hockey next year.


Wales quickly established they were hungry for goals, getting themselves on the score board in the first two minutes with a sweep from Leah Wilkinson flying beyond the reach of the Croatian keeper.


Several good chances to double their lead followed, with a penalty corner shot from Sian French drilled towards goal powerfully but wide, and decent shots from Livvy Hoskins and Phoebe Richards saved by Nicole Stepic.


A penalty corner stroke taken towards the end of the first quarter gave Wales their second. Stepic managed to get a touch on the ball, but French put enough power into the shot to ensure it found the back of the net.


As the constant defending started to take its toll on the Croatian defence, three goals in four minutes followed for Wales in the second quarter.


Following several unsuccessful penalty corner plays, they kept it simple as Holly Munro slapped the ball into goal.


Two minutes later, Sarah Jones guided the ball over the line to make it four for Wales.


Another penalty corner gave them their fifth. Xenna Hugh’s powerful flick flew off the post and straight into the back of the goal.


It was a quieter start to the second half for Wales. Despite dominating possession and a few good chances, it took some time to find their next goal.


Jones made a good attempt to add to the Welsh goal sheet, but her shot was sent up and over the bar by the left glove of the Croatian keeper.


The wait for the sixth was worth it however as a perfectly judged penalty corner flick from Hoskins flew into the top right-hand corner of the net.


Hoskins added to her tally in the final quarter again via penalty corner. This time, the keeper got her hand on Hoskins lower flick, but it was not enough to deny Hoskins as the ball dropped behind and bounced over the line.


Wales continued to fire shots at the Croatian goal and win penalty corners, but brave defending by the Croatian defenders prevented them from extending their lead.


In the last two minutes of play, Maddie Goodman executed a simple conversion and pushed the ball into the goal to give Wales an 8-0 victory.


The win sees Wales women finish second in the table meaning they will play in next year’s Women’s Euro Hockey Championship II.

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