Wales Men And Women Go For EuroHockey Glory

Wales men’s and women’s hockey teams are both going for glory. They are each one win away from promotion to Europe’s top tier.

The women’s play Russia in their EuroHockey Championship semi-final at Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff (Friday, 4.30pm), while the men play France in Glasgow (Friday, 2pm).

The four teams who won their semi-finals will be promoted to the top tier of EuroHockey.

Women’s vice-captain Leah Wilkinson, competing in her eighth EuroHockey championships for Wales, said: “To be in with the professional teams of England, the Dutch, the Germans would be out of this world,” said women’s vice-captain Leah Wilkinson.

“That would be out of this World. It would be brilliant.

“Obviously we pay to play, we all work. It’d be so good for all the girls, who’ve put so much time into their training.”

Neither Wales team have been in the EuroHockey A Division since it was reduced to eight teams more than a decade ago.

The women have made remarkable progress, having been competing in the third tier only four years ago.

Wales men finished top of their group in their EuroHockey Championships in Scotland, but face a tough test against a French team looking for Olympic qualification.

“It would be huge for Wales (to get promoted),” said men’s head coach Zak Jones, who captained Wales as a player.

“The guys are probably on two (training sessions) a day – training before work and after work.

“The sacrifices they’re having to make are getting bigger and bigger.

“Hopefully the increased profile will mean we get more players starting, which will make the clubs healthier and we’ll see the benefits at the top too.”

EuroHockey semi-finals:

Women’s championships in Cardiff: 2pm Belarus v Italy; 4.30pm Russia v Wales.

Men’s championships in Glasgow: 2pm Wales v France; 4.30pm Scotland v Russia.

Finals will be played on Sunday.

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