An improved Wales lose their final pool match of Gold Coast 2018…
2018 Commonwealth Games
Wales: 53 Malawi: 68
Wednesday 11 April
Wales had pride to play for as they prepared to face the Malawi Queens in the final match of Pool B. The Queens needed a 63-point swing to make it into a semi final spot, meanwhile Wales would have needed a 27-goal margin of victory to make it off the bottom of the table. In the event, neither score materialised, however, viewers and spectators were treated to a far improved Welsh performance Down Under.
It was a great start for Wales, with the defence putting Malawi under all sorts of pressure. However, some missed chances at goal allowed the opposition to get ahead. Nevertheless, Wales remained assertive in mid court and Kyra Jones made an interception to keep the scores close at quarter time.
Wales continued their solid performance into the second quarter. Malawi were able to maintain the deficit despit Lewis’ onslaught at goal. As the period went on, a Welsh centre pass went awry, and the Malawian lead grew to eight goals. At this point, Sarah Llewelyn came on for Cara Lea Moseley who had taken a knock. Llewelyn made an immediate impact and scored a confident long-range goal.
A Welsh passing error gave the Queens an early advantage following the half-time break. Nevertheless, Wales’ creativity in defence – with Nia Jones and Kelly Morgan combining well – started to frustrate the opposition. Captain Suzy Drane tracked back to make a wonderful interception as Malawian heads started to drop and Wales drew the quarter.
The final period turned out to be the most frustrating for Wales as the Queens sought to finish with a flourish. Despite the Wales shooting percentage growing to over 80% the defence seemed to lose its efficacy and forced passes gave Malawi plenty to shoot with.
Ultimately, it was a far improved performance for Wales from yesterday’s routing by Uganda. Despite remaining winless in a brutal Pool B, Wales performed with credit and look far from the team that limped home from the World Cup Qualifiers back in January.
Wales face a short turnaround to play against Fiji from Pool A at 00.02am (UK time) tomorrow in the 11th/12th place classification match, with an opportunity to record a morale boosting victory to close out the Games.
12-15 (12-15); 16-21 (28-36); 14-14 (42-50); 11-18 (53-68)