Wales vs. Ukraine
The Scottish climate has been playing havoc with the advertised schedule today and The Scottish Hockey Union has had to think on their feet somewhat. This delayed match has now been moved to Pitch 2, so that the first semi final can be played on Pitch 1. Finally the sun has come and most of the surface water has been cleared. A good number of the supporters have moved across, predominately for Wales. This includes Mark Hughes, father of Welsh number 21 Xenna Hughes.
Ukraine start strongly and get a short corner early on, they test the opposition goalkeeper and Rose Thomas saves the second phase. Wales go up the other end and earn a penalty stroke. Sian French steps up and duly enough sees it home to give her side the lead after two minutes. Shortly after this, Wales get their first short corner of the game. It is sent to the first castle. The ball is , moved to the left for an angle and a reverse hit shot is sent to the Ukrainian keepers right for the second goal in as many minutes. Leah Wilkinson is the scorer and now it’s Wales 2 – 0 Ukraine.
Ukraine have been getting some moves forward, but are struggling to make meaningful circle entries. We now have the surreal experience of hearing the national anthems of the first semi final going on during the first quarter of this match. An attack down the left wing sees the Welsh get their second penalty corner of the match. The injection is sent out to the first caste and we hear the sound of a hockey ball against the back boards. It’s a third for Wales.
Kateryna Samokhodchenko makes a nice run through a central channel and feeds her team mate on the left, who’s in space. A shot and a decent foot save by Rose Thomas and Wales regain possession. As we come close to quarter time Wales get a shot corner. There’s a scramble and a another set piece is given and then another in quick succession and then a fourth and a fifth. There’s a scramble then a shot and a clearance, before another shot and the routine fizzles away. The score is Wales 3 – 0 Ukraine at the end of the first quarter.
Soon after the restart Ukraine get a short corner. It’s deflected wide and they get another. A drag flick is sent into the bottom corner, by Yevheniya Kernoz, for their opening goal. Several minutes later, Ukraine get another short corner. It is deflected wide. The Ukrainians feel that they have spotted something that the umpire hasn’t, but the match official awards Wales a free hit out. Soon after Ukraine get a third penalty corner. Wilkinson is yellow carded for an infringement. Ukraine can’t repeat the success from earlier on though. No more goals in this quarter with the half time score Wales 3 – 1 Ukraine
Ukraine get the first short corner of the second half. It finds a welsh foot on it’s way forward and they also get the second. This time the slap shot is sent wide. Shortly afters, Wales get up the right hand side. Phoebe Richards spins and centres the ball. Her compatriot at the back post wins their first set piece of the period. It is hit at the keeper, who saves. Joanne Westwood picks up the rebound turns into space and scores at the back post giving her side a three goal cushion.
The Welsh give away another short corner. Ukraine line up and this time make sure they put it away, with Olha Honcharenko the goalscorer. Moments later Ukraine get another short corner. It’s shelled into the bottom corner and to Rose Thomas’s right and Olha Honcharenko gets her second in quick succession. The Ukrainians are now just one goal behind and the third quarter ends Wales 4 – 3 Ukraine.
A minute into the fourth and final period Wales get a short corner. It gets deflected wide for a 23 metre restart. They are unable to work the into the circle. However five minutes later Wales drive along the left baseline, cut back and Sophie Robinson gets a tap in at the back post, thus putting her side ahead five goals to three. A long pass towards the Ukrainian right hand post sees Xenna Hughes pick it up. The keeper commits and the ball carrier tucks it past her and Wales now have six. With time ticking down, Jones picks the ball up in the middle of the field and sends it to the left. Natasha Marke-Jones drives into the circle smacks it against the keeper and it trickles ver the line. The game ends Wales 7 – Ukraine 3.