Wales’ Women Look To Give Gold Coast Hopes A Boost In Malaysia

Wales Senior Women are finalising their preparations for the second round of the prestigious FIH Hockey World League, which takes place in Kuala Lumpur.

The tournament – from January 14-22 – is a crucial event in Wales’ competitive calendar and will provide the opportunity to earn valuable world rankings points and progress to the Semi-Finals, where there will be the chance to qualify for the FIH World Cup.

For Wales and other Commonwealth countries, it will be world rankings that determine qualification for Gold Coast 2018, with the top 10 Commonwealth nations automatically qualifying in late 2017.

Head Coach Kevin Johnson, whose squad leave for Malaysia on Saturday, said: “As a group, we are aspiring to play better international tournaments more often and World League Round 2 will be an ideal opportunity to challenge ourselves and further our development.

“As individuals, the players will learn a great amount playing in the high temperatures and humidity of Kuala Lumpur, as well as experiencing different types and styles of opposition from around the globe.

“It will be an invaluable experience and after our recent gains, we are fully confident in our ability to perform well.”

On route to qualifying for Round 2 the squad enjoyed a successful summer of international test matches, where Wales secured impressive home victories over world top 20 ranked nations Italy and Poland, as well as a valuable away draw with Italy.

At World League Round 1 in Douai (France) in September, a confident Wales performed well to finish in second, just behind Russia and ahead of hosts France, to qualify for Round 2.

In their pool Wales, who are currently 32nd in the world, face Thailand and Singapore along with familiar rivals Italy, while a strong Irish side heads up Pool B which features Malaysia, Kazakhstan and Hong Kong.

Match Schedule
Saturday 14 January Italy v Wales Local time 13:45 (05:45 GMT)
Sunday 15 January Wales v Singapore Local time 18:15 (10:15 GMT)
Tuesday 17 January Wales v Thailand Local time 16:00 (08:00 GMT)
Thursday 19 January Quarter-finals TBC
Friday 20 January 5-8 Play offs TBC
Saturday 21 January Semi-finals TBC
Sunday 22 January Finals TBC

Wales Senior Women Squad
Kuala Lumpur 2017
Rose Thomas (GK), Wimbledon
Ella Jackson (GK), Buckingham
Xenna Hughes, East Grinstead
Tina Evans, Birmingham University
Natalie Blyth, Swansea City
Jo Westwood, Swansea City
Leah Wilkinson (VC), Holcombe
Sian French, Bowdon
Beth Bingham, Loughborough University
Sarah Jones, Holcombe
Danielle Jordan, Clifton
Hannah Cozens, Loughborough University
Julie Whiting, Reading
Abi Welsford (C), Swansea City
Eloise Laity, Clifton
Lisa Daley, Swansea City
Phoebe Richards, Buckingham
Natasha Marke-Jones, Swansea City

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