Head coach Julie Hoornweg and her Wales team opened their Netball Europe campaign in winning style.
They defeated Northern Ireland 51-44 in their opening fixture and now take on England today.
“Netball Europe is the premier international competition in the region and has been the focus of the team for many months,” says Hoornweg.
“We have a team with youth and experience representing Wales. A team that embraces netball ‘the Welsh way’ and continues to advance their skills and abilities in the quest for high performance.
“Excellence both on and off the court will be the hallmark of this team – united and valued for their culture and performance.”
Mid-court player Kyra Jones said: “It wasn’t pretty, but we got the win.
— Welsh Netball (@WelshNetball) September 27, 2019
“It was a great show of resilience and perseverance by the whole team. Now onto the next one.”
Northern Ireland captain Caroline O’Hanlon said: “We knew it was going to be a tough, physical match against Wales.
“It was a close game and the result was in the balance until the last couple of minutes. We made too many errors and Wales were more clinical.”
The first quarter of the Northern Ireland v Wales match was nervy with the hosts making unforced errors to give Wales early opportunities.
Wales GK Christina Shaw was sniping at some sloppy feeds to turn the ball over, but they weren’t always clinical under the post and it remained tight at quarter time.
Wales led 12-10 going into the second quarter looked the more focused with Chelsea Lewis at GA looked to reinforce the Welsh feed and they were able to convert far more chances early on.
Again, Wales’ defence sent the Northern Irish drive sideways and, along with some excellent feeds from Kyra Jones, they were able to keep the hosts at bay.
Nia Jones picked up a caution in the second quarter and as a result coach Hoornweg had to reorganise the squad. Clare Jones went on to represent Wales for the first time since a hand injury ruled her out of Wales’ 2019 summer tests.
Substitutions gave Ireland extra momentum as Wales stalled and the hosts drew level.
Fortunately, the strength and familiarity of connections on the Welsh bench meant that the management had plenty of tactical options available and going into the final quarter they led 37-35.
Eleanor Roberts added a further degree of patience into Wales’ attack and further squad rotation meant players were able to get a good taste for the weekend’s competition ahead of the challenge of England to come.
Wales will face England at today (noon, Saturday 28 September) and the game will be shown live on Welsh Netball’s Facebook account and the YouTube channel of Netball Europe.
Northern Ireland 44 Wales 51
Quarter scores: 10-12 (10-12); 10-13 (20-25); 15-12 (35-37); 9-16 (44-51)
Starting Seven: Georgia Rowe, Chelsea Lewis, Beth Dyke, Kyra Jones, Nia Jones, Leila Thomas, Christina Shaw.
Bench: Eleanor Roberts, Lydia Hitchings, Lucy Howells, Suzy Drane and Clare Jones.
England won 73-16 against Republic of Ireland on the opening day.
England’s 12 at the Netball Europe Open championships are:
Halimat Adio (Severn Stars, WD/GK/WD)
Rebekah Airey (Manchester Thunder, GD/GK)
Iona Christian (Severn Stars, C/WA)
Zara Everitt (Loughborough Lightning, GD/WD/GK)
Funmi Fadoju (London Pulse, GD/GK)
Ally Housley (Surrey Storm, GD/WD)
Berri Neil (Manchester Thunder, GA/GS/WA)
Jasmin Odeogberin (London Pulse, GD/WD)
Yasmin Parsons (Surrey Storm, C/WA)
Emilia Roscoe (Manchester Thunder, GS/GA)
Kira Rothwell (London Pulse, GA/WA)
Sienna Rushton (Wasps Netball, GA/GS)