Wales vs. Poland
Wales need to win this tin order to progress to the semi finals; they have won one game from the two played and are on three points and are placed third in Pool A. Poland are currently on four points after their first two games and are in second place in their group coming into this match. Only the top two from each group go onto the semi finals. Third and fourth place go into the relegation Pool C. It has stopped raining and the sun is out for the start of this match.
A little over six minutes into the period, Poland get the first short corner, after an attack down the left wing. Marlena Rybacha, the Polish captain strikes, Rose Thomas planks for the save and there is now, what can only be described as, a rugby style scrum for the ball. Wales come away with the the object of everybody’s attention and nothing more comes of the phase of play. The Welsh get a short corner for themselves, after a scramble in front of the Polish goal we see the ball hit a foot. It’s defended well and the ball is moved away from the danger area.
There has been very few open play shots at goal. True to form, with two minutes and a half minutes remaining, Poland get another penalty corner. The left hand post player for Wales protects the goal line and sees it away. A little over a minute later, Sarah Jones wins a short for her side. Captain, Leah Wilkinson is given it on the left hand welsh castle, but plays it into a planked keeper. With 20 seconds left of the period, Poland’s number 18, Natalia Wisniewska, gets the ball in central midfield. She plays the ball forward and to her left. It’s moved diagonally right into the circle Magdalena Zagajska of Poland picks it up and sends it into the bottom corner at the far post. The period ends with Poland with a one goal advantage.
Two and a half minutes into the second quarter, Amelia Katerla gets a green card. In the fifth minute a polish defender kicks the ball in the circle and we have the first penalty corner of the period. The first runner does well to block the shot and in the second phase Izzie Howell puts her foot on it. Meaning that it’s a free Hit for Poland. The Eastern Europeans are sitting incredibly deep, with even their forwards deeper than other sides might want them. Six minutes into the period, the heavens open up again. It’s nothing less than a downpour. During this period Wales get another penalty corner. The water on the pitch, even within the last two minutes slows the pace of the injection down and Wales can’t get anything from the set piece. With five minutes and 34 seconds left of the quarter, the umpires finally decide to stop play. It’s a bit too late in my opinion and we’re lucky not to have an injury. The four local officials are back out with brooms to get rid of the water. They’ve even taken to using wooden picnic benches to help clear the water.
The sun’s out and so are the players. I’m not sure exactly we’ve been away for, but mean time, I’ve both ordered a baked potato and managed to scoff it all, so I’m quite satisfied. As we get going there’s still lot of spray coming up off the pitch and the ball pace is not what it should be. It appears to be a tug, heavy with rain. A foul on a Welsh player in the circle sees a short corner awarded. It hits the keeper and bobbles lose. The rebound is sent to Sarah Jones, still lingering at the back post after the injection, who equalises for Wales. The score is now Wales 1 – 1 – Poland. This is the first goal that, a very organised, Polish defence have conceded in the tournament. With a minute left, Jones earns another short corner. A misplaced pass from 7, sees the ball turnover at the top of the circle. The half time hooter goes and the scores are Wales 1 – 1 Poland.
Two and a half minutes into the second half Poland get the ball high up in their left corner. It’s a bit of a punt into the circle, but number 24, Wiktoria Blaszyk, meets the pass head on and deflects the ball into the netting. The score is now Wales 1 – 2 Poland. This will cause panic amongst the Western Britons. We all thought that they would be going forward in second place, all of us, except the Poles.
The first penalty corner of the half occurs seven minutes into it. Wales set up to try and equalise. A Polish defender breaks the line and walks to the half way. The number two runner does well to block the slip. Generally, there’s been a bit of too and fro from both teams, but without any clear cut opportunities fromopen play, since the goal for Poland. The Poles are fairly good at transitioning towards defence, fr attack, pulling large numbers back. Wales are struggling to find space in attacking areas. At the end of the third period, it’s Wales 1 – 2 Poland.
In the ninth minute, Wales work a penalty corner from a 23 metre restart. It’s deflected wide and they get another go at things. There’s a mess up at the top of the circle again and Poland get a free hit. In the eleventh minute Rose Thomas makes a decent save. The Welsh mount a counter attack and the Polish goalie gives away a short corner. Two saves are made by the keeper and the ball is cleared. With less then four minutes left, Rose Thomas comes off for Wales for her side to have an extra outfield player. The Welsh dragons have a lot of high possession, but can’t get past the defence. 55 seconds left and a short corner is awarded for Wales. The Poles breaks the line early and one has to go. A retake is awarded; it’s stopped well outside the circle.The ball is sent wide and then sent reverse stick into the bottom corner for Leah Wilkinson to score. The game ends 2 – 2, but this isn’t good enough for the compatriots of King Arthur. Wales are put into Pool C and Poland go on to the semi finals.