England 4 Wales 1
England played a controlled power game against Wales, who were undone by three Crista Cullen penalty corner drag-flick goals.
A well-drilled England enjoyed a lions share of the ball against the Welsh who impressed at times but were prone to give away the ball when put under pressure. The English played solid tournament hockey – winning without expending any more energy than necessary in the heat.
The only slight concern for the Commonwealth Games hockey favourites would be the lack of open play chances. Mags Rees in the Welsh goal snuffed out a couple of attacks, Kerry Williams had a fair ‘goal’ disallowed and Charlotte Craddock and Alex Danson both fired in some too-high shots for England.
One of Danson’s shots hit Welsh star Sarah Thomas on the head early in the second half – Thomas’ team mates might try that in the warm-up because she then produced two of the best moments of the game.
The first, a right to left run into the circle and reverse shot was brilliantly saved by Beth Storry at her left post (her second touch of the game). Thomas did even better in the dying seconds – smashing a similar shot home after another weaving dribble.
But by then the game was as good as over, a PC goal from Cullen and a Craddock field goal (after a horrendous defensive error by Wales had already doubled England’s half-time tally.
England coach Danny Kerry told the BBC: “We utterly dominated for 70 minutes but were poor in the attacking circle.
“If we want to win gold then we have to play better. Having said that, I think it’s extremely difficult to be playing in these temperatures.
“We need to set higher standards for ourselves and expect higher standards of our team-mates. If we had done that today it could have been double figures.”