England U21: 90 – Wales U21: 26 – Netball Europe Under 21 Open Championships

Saturday 6 October 2018, Belfast, Northern Ireland

It was a good start for Wales who went stride for stride with the English in the initial five minutes of the match, with some good turnovers for the Welsh defence. However, once the English cut out the errors, they were able to make full use of their height advantage in the quarter, at one point scoring a three-second goal off centre pass. Wales scrapped hard to compete, with Chloe Dyke unlucky to concede possession when looking to keep the ball in play and twins Beca and Catrin Hughes using their pace to good effect up court. Yet, for all of this, Amy Clinton found herself with ball after ball to give England a big lead at the interval.

There was little to cheer about for Wales after the break as England went on an absolute scoring rampage. It was eight minutes into the quarter before Wales could register their first goal as the Superleague-studded Roses side attacked and defended with impunity. Though opportunities for Wales were few and far between, they were often scuppered with either rushed inaccuracy or indecisiveness. Half time could not come quick enough as heads started to drop with a meagre 3 goals scored.

With a half an eye on the upcoming match against Northern Ireland, the management made a number of half-time changes and give players an opportunity to showcase themselves against formidable opposition. Rhian Evans and Georgia Jenkins came on at goal shooter and goal attack respectively, whilst Miquie Walker Jones replaced Leila Thomas in defence. Evans had an immediate impact with a well-taken goal soon after the whistle, with Jenkins doing likewise soon after. Generally, it was a more assertive performance from Wales in the period but the opposition still maintained a solid level of performance.  

Likewise, the final quarter provided a source of optimism for Wales as Rhian Evans netted some crackers for Wales. Chloe Dyke also produced some great feeds to set up the shooters and there was a greater air of confidence around the team. Notwithstanding, the Roses continued to produce some very classy netball as they put themselves in pole position to retain their Netball Europe crown.

All of Wales’ focus will now be on the final day of the tournament where the squad will take on the hosts in their final match of the weekend at midday tomorrow.

Quarter scores: 6-20 (6-20); 3-28 (9-48); 8-23 (17-71); 9-19 (26-90)

Wales U21: Gwenan Williams, Georgia Jenkins, Rhian Evans, Beca Hughes, Catrin Hughes, Chloe Dyke, Shona O’Dwyer, Rebecca Baker, Christina Shaw, Eleri Micheal, Miquie Walker Jones and Leila Thomas      .

England U21: Halimat Adio, Amy Carter, Amy Clinton, Charlotte Curtis, Iona Darroch, Sophie Drakeford-Lewis, Vicki Oyseola, Lucy Parize, Paige Reed, Assaindey Olivia Tchine, Abigail Tyrrell and Fran Williams.