CWG 2018: Wales shock India in women’s hockey

Gold Coast (Australia): India were defeated 2-3 by lowly Wales on the first day of the women’s hockey competition at the Commonwealth Games here on Thursday.

This is the first time that World No.10 India have lost to Wales — who are placed 26th in the world rankings — in a major tournament.

Lisa Daley (7th minute) scored a field goal to hand Wales an early lead before Sian French (26th) converted a penalty stroke in the second quarter to double the advantage. The Indians staged a strong comeback with a couple of goals in the third quarter.

Skipper Rani (34th) struck shortly after half time off a penalty corner. Nikki Pradhan found the equaliser shortly before the end of the quarter with a field goal. The fourth quarter was a hard-fought, end to end affair as both teams pushed for the winning goal.

Wales clinched the issue in the closing minutes when Natasha Marke-Jones (57th) scored a field goal. The first quarter saw India struggle to build attacks as their passing was rusty while the Welsh played with high intensity.

After Wales had taken the lead, the Indians tried hard for the equaliser, but could not create enough opportunities in the opposition penalty area.

The second quarter saw a similar story as India’s midfield failed to assert their authority, which meant that Wales enjoyed better ball possession in the middle of the park.

The Welsh took full advantage as Sian doubled the lead with a field goal and the Europeans went into the half-time break with a comfortable 2-0 cushion.

The Indian team came out after the half-time break with a rejuvenated spirit as they focused on quick and precise passing, earning two penalty corners in the first few minutes of the third quarter, the second of which was converted with a low, deflected shot by Rani.

The goal restored confidence among the Indians and they looked like the team in command as they created more chances in search of an equaliser. Seven minutes later, another chance was converted by the Indian team when forward Navjot Kaur’s cross was deflected into the back of the net by Nikki.

India’s Monika had a great chance to score in the 48th minute when skipper Rani’s well-waited pass was struck wide of the post by the midfielder. India tried to force Wales to defend for most of the final quarter as drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur’s penalty corner attempt was also blocked in the 49th minute.

In the 57th minute, Wales caught the Indian defence on the wrong foot with a counter-attack and with India’s goalkeeper Savita failing to clear the ball, Natasha found the back of the net to hand her team a winning start.