Wales made a winning start to the 2017 EuroHockey Championships.
The women’s team opened their campaign with a 6-1 victory against Austria in Cardiff, extending their unbeaten run to 14 matches, while the men’s team defeated Czech Republic 2-1 in Glasgow.
“It was important for us to start well and that gives us confidence, belief and momentum,” said Kevin Johnson, head coach of the women’s team.
”We knew we had to focus on the important things, try and find the game we have been playing for a while.
“It’s kind of hard to know what the ‘home thing’ is going to be before we get out there playing, but we ran any nervous energy off in the first quarter and settled down.
“Our aim was to make a positive start, gain momentum, confidence and belief. We want to play exciting, attacking hockey. A team people can watch and get excited about.”
Wales scored two early goals and vice-captain Leah Wilkinson, who plays for Kent club Holcombe, said: “Everybody was pretty nervous during the first few minutes, but those early goals calmed us down.
“We can’t get carried away. Austria are the only team in our group ranked below us and now we play Poland and Belarus. They will be two really tough matches.”
Wales produced a stunning performance in their opening pool B match, leading 4-1 at half-time.
Tina Evans scored following a penalty corner before Natasha Marke-Jones, Danni Jordan and Wilkinson added further goals.
Lisa Daley and Marke-Jones completed their six-goal tally.
Wales play Poland on Tuesday and Belarus on Wednesday. Both matches are at the Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff and start at 6pm.
Poland lost their opening game 2-0 to Belarus, while in Pool A Ukraine won 1-0 against France, while Italy and Russia drew 1-1.
The Welsh men’s team won their pool B fixture against Czech Republic 2-1.
Gareth Furlong converted from a penalty corner, firing into the bottom right corner, and James Kyriakides made it 2-0 before half-time.
The Czech team hit back following a penalty corner with Michel Barta scoring.
Wales men play their second pool match today (Monday, 4.15pm) when Switzerland are their opponents, while they take on Russia on Wednesday (11.45am).
Russia defeated Switzerland 3-2 in the other pool B match, while in pool A Ukraine defeated Portugal 7-2. Hosts Scotland won 2-1 against France.
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