Heartbreak for Wales as Scotland power to third straight EuroHockey Championships II win

Wales v Poland 2019 EuroHockey Championships II

Wales’ bid to gain promotion to the EuroHockey Championships top tier will be put on hold for another two years after a draw against Poland saw them finish third in their group.

Needing a victory to qualify for the semi-finals, Sarah Jones and Leah Wilkinson were on target for Wales but it was only enough to see them finish level and miss out on second place in the pool by a point.

There was plenty more success for hosts Scotland though as they brushed past Austria to maintain their 100% record and set up a semi-final tie with Poland.

Wales 2 (1)
Jones (28’, PC), Wilkinson (60’, FG)

Poland 2 (1)
Zagajska (7’, FG), Blaszyk (32’, FG)

Following Italy’s 10-1 demolition of Turkey, Wales knew only a victory over Poland would be enough to keep alive their chances of finishing in the top two and thus secure a spot in the 2021 EuroHockey Championships.

They would have been buoyed by the fact that they had beaten their opponents in their last seven competitive matches, including a 3-0 series whitewash last August as well as a 2-1 win at the 2017 EuroHockey Championships II.

But it was the Poles who took the early advantage through Magdalena Zagajska before torrential rain saw play delayed in the second quarter, with the match having already started late due to a previous downpour.

Jones then bagged her second goal of the tournament to equalise with an instinctive finish two minutes before half-time, only for Poland to go back into the lead through Wiktoria Blaszyk in the 32nd minute.

Wales pushed hard to find the equaliser but it didn’t come until too late when Wilkinson smashed the ball home with just 40 seconds remaining.

Scotland 3 (3)
Eadie (8’, FG), Jamieson (11’, FG), Holmes (16’, PS)

Austria 0 (0)

The final group game of this year’s event saw Scotland stroll to a third consecutive victory, with an eight minute scoring spree enough to condemn Austria to defeat.

Jennifer Eadie opened proceedings as she converted a great team move in the eighth minute before Sarah Jamieson found the bottom corner with precision three minutes later.

Kate Holmes produced a similarly accurate finish from a stroke less than 60 seconds into the second quarter and from there on Scotland saw the game out, assured in the knowledge that they would finish top of the group.

They face Poland in the second semi-final at 17:00 on Friday 9 August, with Italy taking on Austria in the other game.

Meanwhile Wales now enter a pool to determine which two teams will be relegated to the EuroHockey Championships III. The three points from their 5-1 victory against Turkey carry over to this pool and they will also face up against Ukraine (12:30, 9 August) and Czech Republic (09:30, 10 August).

All of these fixtures will be live to watch on the BBC Sport website and on eurohockeytv.org.