EuroHockey Qualifiers D, Men
Saturday 27th August
Wales 7 – 0 Gibraltar
Switzerland 0 – 8 Scotland
Wales 7 – 0 Gibraltar; the first game of the day, of which is more about pride and status than anything else, Wales faced off against the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar. It was the Welsh who took the lead through a short corner routine that was finished off by Gareth Furlong. There were a few Gibraltarian fans in the crowd, urging on the underdogs every time they looked to go forward. However, a controlled Welsh team took a two nil lead in the first break, after Furlong put away another set piece.Wales dominated possession in the first half. Furlong completed his hat trick and James Carson added a fourth for a fairly one sided game at half time. This continued in the after the break, with further goals coming from Luke Hawker, Fred Newbold and Daniel Kyriakides. Gibraltar had a few chances from short corners, but were unable to convert, providing Wales with their third clean sheet of the tournament.
Switzerland 0 – 8 Scotland; Scotland start this match knowing that the best that they can finish in the tournament is second, after their British rivals Wales won their earlier game. They have the better of the early chances, even hitting the cross bar from a short corner drag flick. The Swiss goalkeeper, Laurent Rogger, also performed admirably, making several saves from Scottish stinging shots. With just 15 seconds of the first half remixing, Scotland finally break the deadlock, with a goal from open play. A little bit of movement allowed Lee Morton to move onto the ball inside the Swiss circle, before he stroked it past the goalie to make it one nil to the hosts. They double their lead early in the second half through David Nairn in open play, before Jamie Golden added a third and then a fourth, in quick succession – both from short corners. As the game went on the Swiss got pegged further and further back, until they found it hard to pass the ball out of their own half. Thy managed to get further forward in the final period, forcing a couple of saves from Tommy Alexander in the Scottish goal, but to no avail. Scotland won the game eight nil.
Best Moment of the Day
The chips that I had for my lunch was a pretty enjoyable part of the day and was well needed at the time. Rob Harwood’s goal for Scotland today was pretty decent. It came after a fair bit of possession for the host nation and showed patience, team work and a bit of skill, as it was worked into the circle, before being finished off to make it six nil.
However, my favourite moment of the day was a rather innocuous bit of play that brought a smile to my face. A firmly hit shot from a Scottish attacker, from the top of the Swiss circle, was deflected high and over the perimeter fence behind the goal. Not only did it clear the wire mesh, but the ball found it’s way into one of the high up media boxes around the sides on the pitch, nearly taking out the guy stood inside of it. This received a small round of applause from members of the crowd. Thankfully, nobody was hurt, it was just something that you don’t see very often.
One player that has impressed me at this tournament has been Jacob Draper of Wales. He’s a deep lying playmaker, who can carry the ball well under pressure and has consistently showed good levels of distribution. Jamie Golden’s two goals were important for Scotland, in their final match. Lee Morton also looked dynamic. However, Gareth Furlong’s three goals in the first half of the Wales versus Gibraltar game set the tone of the match quite early on, helping his side to get the win, and secured his award of the tournaments top goalscorer. A good day for him all round.