In a match that saw Lewis Prosser earn his 100th cap, Wales made it two from two in Belfast after coming from behind to secure a 2 – 2 draw and going on to win against Scotland in the resulting shoot out.
In an action packed opening quarter Scotland started at a ferocious pace and caught Wales napping with a fine cross that was deflected in by the Scottish forward. The speed of the game did not let up and Scotland continued to pile on the pressure, however the Welsh defence held firm. Wales’ first chance of the game came soon after and they drew the game level with a deflected penalty corner from Ben Carless.
Scotland maintained the pressure and despite a number of saves from goalkeeper David Kettle their persistence finally told as they retook the lead 2 – 1 when a penalty corner sneaked past the Welsh defence. The action in quarter one did not let up as Wales went close through Ben Francis before Scotland were awarded a penalty stroke which was again saved by Kettle.
The second period saw Wales start to get a foot hold in the game but the Scottish pressure continued with only a number of defensive efforts keeping the game at 2 – 1
Wales regrouped at half time and came out and showed huge desire to take the game to Scotland creating a number of chances however they just couldn’t find the finishing touch after a number of fine flowing moves. Scotland continued to seek their 3rd before some more attacking play saw Wales earn a penalty corner that was dispatched by Gareth Furlong to bring the game level at 2 – 2
The game finished with a number of chances for both sides before the final whistle led the match to a shoot out. With a winner needed in every match, draw’s end up in a shootout and Wales held their nerve with goalkeeper Kettle forcing errors and making saves, meaning Ben Francis took the chance to put the shuttles out of reach for Scotland and secure a resilient win for Wales.
Head Coach Jones commented on the game,
“I’m really proud of the guys and the resilience, spirit and composure they showed today. We feel like we didn't play very well in the first half but credit must go to Scotland for putting us under pressure in that period. However, we regrouped at half time, put in a much improved performance in the second half and then the guys taking the shuttles showed great composure and skill to win the shootout.”
On the closeness of the game he added,
“It is a huge positive that once again we managed to come through a tough examination but there is still plenty to improve upon.”
Wales next face France on Tuesday at 12.45 GMT