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Wales Women take a series win in France.

Last week saw the Wales Senior Women’s squad travel to France for their first test match of 2020.

Having won three and lost three to their close rivals in 2019, this would be a great opportunity to try new players to the squad against healthy competition leading into the busy year ahead.

The week started well with a 2-0 victory to Wales in the first of the two practice matches with goals from Eloise Laity and Xenna Hughes.

Following a recovery session, the squad prepared for their first official test match of the year, which saw 18-year-old Nell Butler named in the starting line-up to win her first cap.

The opening stages of the match saw France take a 2-0 lead, but the Welsh squad showed true strength of character to come back with a goal in the 39’ from Eloise Laity, followed by an equaliser and a debut goal from Nell Butler in the final minutes of the game.

The final score in normal time was a 2-2 draw, resulting in a shoot-out to decide the outcome which saw Wales win 2-1, with Phoebe Richards and Beth Bingham converting.

Wales Head Coach, Kevin Johnson, reflected on the determination of the squad to achieve the come-back and eventual win.

“Whilst slightly disappointing not to win the official test match in normal time, the strength of character this group had to demonstrate under pressure, to come back from two goals down to achieve a draw and win the shoot-out, will ensure that this experience will hopefully have long lasting value.”

Following the test match, the squad gathered themselves for a final practice game which saw them concede a goal in the closing stages resulting in a narrow 2-3 defeat, with Welsh goals from Hannah Cozens and Jess Roe.

Johnson was satisfied with the progress of the squad during the week in France.

“This was a positive way to start our activity in 2020. There were clear signs of progress evident from several areas of team development that we have been working on during our last training phase at the back end of 2019.

“As a wider group, we have been able to expose more of our younger players to senior international hockey, allowing us to grow our depth and experience base, with all the squad contributing well, resulting in healthy competition for places.”

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