(Hockey Wales press release)
With the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast only 34 days away, today Hockey Wales and Team Wales have revealed the 36 athletes that will represent Team Wales down under in April where they will go up against some of the top nations in World hockey.
Following a period of unprecedented results in Welsh hockey, qualification for the Gold Coast was confirmed in December last year and the goal of having both teams represent Wales at consecutive games was achieved. This will be the first time both Wales’ men’s and women’s teams will compete side by side since in an away games since 1998. The games will take place April 5th – April 15th at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre, and a full schedule can be seen here.
On the news of the selection Head of Performance Dan Clements commented:
“We would like to congratulate all athletes on their selection as it is testament to the hard work and commitment that they show on a daily basis in an effort to represent their country. We are extremely proud of all the athletes and staff that represent Wales in Hockey and we are really looking forward to playing our part with Team Wales on the Gold Coast”
On the back of a breath-taking 2017 the Wales men’s team will be looking to build on their success of qualifying for the European A division and the accolade of highest climbers in world rankings. No doubt the challenge will be tough on the Gold Coast however, with Wales drawn in pool B against India, Malaysia, Pakistan and England.
The squad will feature a number of players with Commonwealth experience including captain Lewis Prosser who currently sits on 116 caps. GB defender Dan Kyriakides is joined by his brother James, and there is also a spot for Hywel Jones on the back of his recent debut with the senior side. Returning from a lengthy injury Cardiff & Met’s Rhys Gowman returns to the squad after some impressive performances since coming through his rehabilitation.
Head Coach Zak Jones stated:
With such a competitive squad, the final selection of the eighteen athletes for the Gold Coast was incredibly difficult, which is a huge credit to all the players currently involved in the Senior Men’s programme. I’m very proud of where we are as a collective and would like to thank all the athletes involved for the selfless commitment and time they have put into the programme. As a group, we have made some huge strides forward over the past eighteen months and we will look to continue our development and learning on that upward trajectory in Australia. I feel that there is a really good balance to the squad, with a real blend of youth and experience, including seven athletes who competed in Glasgow in 2014.
The squad are very much looking forward to the unique challenge that the Commonwealth Games will present. The tournament presents the group with another fantastic opportunity to continue to grow and move forward, as well as to test themselves against some of the best nations in the world.
I feel that there is a growing belief within the squad and know that those selected will represent the Senior Men’s squad with great passion, pride and humility. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate all the athletes on their hard-earned selection.
The Wales women’s side will be looking forward to building on their World League and European exploits in 2017 and go up against India, South Africa, Malaysia and England in Pool A.
New captain Leah Wilkinson will be leading the squad into a major games for the first time with this being her 3rd as a Welsh international. Wilkinson stepped up as captain at the turn of the year after Abi Welsford made her decision to stand down from international hockey. Together they hold the title for most capped Welsh female hockey players.
Head Coach Kevin Johnson stated:
“This particular selection process has been the most competitive we have experienced in recent times and therefore it is an indication of the squad depth we have been trying to develop over time. Over the last couple of months, the players have demonstrated clear improvements physically, technically and tactically and we feel we are well placed to meet the challenge of facing higher ranked opponents that the Commonwealth Games will throw at us with a very positive mindset. We are continually motivated by challenge and excited about what the future holds for us as a group and this tournament is another stepping stone on this process and we look forward to seeing what we can achieve.”
Other notable inclusions to the squad are GB’s Rose Thomas fresh from her first caps against World powerhouses Argentina, and midfielder Sarah Jones. The squad will also see a debutant on the Gold Coast in midfielder Izzie Howell after graduating from the Wales U18 squad and performing very well in the senior environment.
With Izzie set to make her appearance for Wales Johnson explained:
“Izzie has entered the senior group pretty much straight from our National Age Group programme in September 2017 and has only just celebrated her 18th birthday. She has transitioned into life as a senior seamlessly with an assured nature to her play and has therefore fully deserved selection after a string of consistent performances across the training block. She will earn her 1st senior cap in the first game of the Commonwealth Games against India”.
Helen Phillips MBE, Chair of Commonwealth Games Wales shared her excitement around both teams making an appearance this year:
"It's absolutely great news that Hockey Wales have finalised the squads for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. This year will be the first time since 1998 for Team Wales to compete in both men's and women's hockey at an away Commonwealth Games. Congratulations to all the players who have made it to the final squads. We wish them all the very best and look forward to seeing some outstanding performances out in Australia next month."
1. Lewis Prosser © (Surbiton)
2. Luke Hawker © - (Cardiff & Met)
3. David Kettle – GK (Teddington)
4. James Fortnam – GK (Cardiff & Met)
5. Jacob Draper – Cardiff & Met)
6. Dale Hutchinson – (Reading)
7. Rhys Gowan - (Cardiff & Met)
8. Dan Kyriakides – (Reading)
9. James Kyriakides - (Southgate)
10. Alf Dinnie - (Cardiff & Met)
11. Ben Francis – (Reading)
12. Gareth Furlong - (Cardiff & Met)
13. Hywel Jones – (University of Birmingham)
14. Rupert Shipperley (Hamstead & Westminster)
15. Jonny Gooch – (Hamstead & Westminster)
16. Steve Kelly - (Hamstead & Westminster)
17. Owain Dolan Gray – (Reading)
18. James Carson – (Reading)
1. Leah Wilkinson © (Holcombe)
2. Sian French – VC (Bowdon Hightown)
3. Rose Thomas – GK (Holcombe)
4. Ella Jackson – GK (Buckingham)
5. Julie Whiting (Bowdon Hightown)
6. Natasha Marke-Jones (Clifton Robinsons)
7. Sophie Clayton (Clifton Robinsons)
8. Sarah Jones (Holcombe)
9. Lisa Daley (Clifton Robinsons)
10. Phoebe Richards (Buckingham)
11. Tina Evans (unattached)
12. Dannielle Jordan (Buckingham)
13. Eloise Laity (Buckingham)
14. Beth Bingham (Holcombe)
15. Izzie Howell (Neston)
16. Delyth Thomas (University of Birmingham)
17. Xenna Hughes (East Grinstead)
18. Jo Westwood (Holcombe)