Despite defeat in the opening match of their 2018 Commonwealth Games campaign, Wales made history against New Zealand in Australia’s Gold Coast.
2018 Commonwealth Games
Wales: 44 New Zealand: 70
Friday 6 April 2018
Wales drew first blood with a Chelsea Lewis goal within 10 seconds, yet on the whole it was a nervy start for the players in red. A few early shots went awry as the Silver Ferns’ Maria Folau embarked on a long-range shooting masterclass. Wales did eventually find fluency in the quarter, however, the Kiwis leapt into an early lead, 14-23.
The second quarter began with a stark improvement in the Welsh defence. After a powerful first quarter performance, the players in black became overly reliant on Folau’s shooting and Wales were able to exploit their one-dimensional opponents. Cara Lea Moseley and Chelsea Lewis were fed a near constant stream of ball to cut the deficit right down as the period wore on. Kelly Morgan was at her disruptive best and Nia Jones made the sneakiest of interceptions in front of the post. As a result, Wales won the second quarter 13-9 and made history with a first ever period triumph against the Silver Ferns.
In the second half, New Zealand rang the changes and made an explosive start to the third period, at one point outscoring Wales 10:1. Head Coach Julie Hoornweg had to react to a very different Silver Ferns side and so she likewise made changes, bringing on Leila Thomas and Georgia Rowe. The tactic proved effective as Wales brought their tally up to 9 goals and prevented the wheels from coming off the performance.
Any hopes Wales had of repeating the second period’s heroics were quickly receding, however there was plenty of history to made on a remarkable day in Australia. New Zealand scored another 5 in quick order, but Wales were able to build their own score and surpass the 39 goal mark, making it a best-ever goal tally against New Zealand. Hoornweg gave a run out to the remainder of her substitutes as the match came to a conclusion and Wales made a third entry into the history books with a closest ever score margin against a titan of world netball.
Wales will be buoyed ahead of tomorrow’s match against Celtic rivals Scotland (09.30am UK time) and there is plenty more to come from the Cymry Coch Down Under.
Quarter scores: 14-23 (14-23); 13-9 (27-32); 9-20 (36-52); 8-18 (44-70).