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Wales Women's Easter Weekend Recap.

The recently named Senior Women’s Squad for 2023 travelled to Edinburgh over the Easter weekend to be challenged in a series of friendly matches against Scotland.

This was the first time the Senior squad had come together since the selection was made which accounted for a number of changes after recently announced retirements and step aways following the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.

The training matches against Scotland gave a perfect chance to expose some players to senior International Hockey for the first time whilst also looking at exploring playing styles the newly formed group will look to settle into and progress with across the summer in the lead up to the European Championships in July.

The group progressed significantly over the weekend, culminating in a significant improvement in the final match where Wales held Scotland to a goalless draw.

In the first match Scotland were far more clinical and assertive in both circles and in truth it took time for the team to familarise itself to the intensity and standards that are required to compete at this level. Despite the 6-0 reverse, Wales showed some encouraging signs in general play in between the two 25’s with their general team structure on and off the ball.

The second match was a far more even affair with the two sides separated only by two extremely clinical finishes from the Scottish attackers and a very late penalty corner putting the result beyond doubt, but a well-executed Wales penalty corner scored by Phoebe Richards allowed the team to exert scoreboard pressure for the first time over the weekend as they reduced the score line to a 3-1 defeat. Overall, much progress was made from game one, with a return to improved intensity, focus, skill and connections and had it not been for some outstanding saves from the Scottish goalkeepers, on another day the team would have been confident in converting a number of the chances created.

In the final game of 3 Wales were able to exert far more consistent pressure towards the attacking third of the pitch and created a high number of good goalscoring opportunities only to be mainly thwarted by the form of the Scotland goalkeepers once again. Wales continued to make progress from the first two games and this will be a positive takeaway from the match series, the clear progression in a number of areas and importantly also demonstrating the ability to keep a clean sheet in the final fixture.

Head Coach, Kevin Johnson said:

“It was so important to expose what is in reality a new group to some early matches in our cycle as there really is no substitute for the learning and insight this gives us. After the frustrations of the first match, which was disappointing to not be at the intensity we need to be, it was so encouraging to see the progress we were able to make over the next two and to see the players focus even harder on the process and the improvement and I saw more than enough in the last couple of performances to be confident in how quickly we can develop. We have learnt a huge amount to take into an important training phase where we have 3 camps in a row before we travel to the tri-nations series in Uruguay to further challenges ourselves against different opponents. Finally, I want to thanks the hosts in Edinburgh and our fellow home nation friends Scotland. Matches between us offer high intensity and challenge but despite the proud and competitive nature we share, are always played with mutual respect and in the right spirit and this was evident across the weekend.”

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