Killer instinct is an ingredient Wales women’s hockey team must discover to compete with the best nations at the next Commonwealth Games, according to midfielder Hannah Cozens.
Wales lost three of their four Pool A games at the University of Birmingham, going down 4-0 to Canada, 3-1 to India and 5-0 to gold medal match finalists and hosts England.
Their tournament concluded with a play-off for seventh with South Africa, which ended in another defeat as Lilian du Plessis’ goal in the third quarter proved the difference.
And after falling just short of their best ever Commonwealth Games finish, Cozens said their final match was indicative of their time in Birmingham as they failed to convert their chances.
“We’re disappointed,” she said. “We set out to come and get our best ever finish, which would have been seventh, so obviously we’re very disappointed but can’t fault the effort.
“It just didn’t go our way today. It’s the way our tournament has gone really, we just haven’t taken our chances and we haven’t created enough going forward in attack.
“We’ve made some really nice build-up play but unfortunately it just hasn’t come off at the other end. We should have won more corners and got more shots off but it didn’t go our way.
“We start the games so well, create good chances and just don’t bury them. That’s been the tale of the tournament and I’m so proud of all the girls, we’ve come out and prepared best we could.
“We’ve obviously finished out ranking but we hoped to finish above our ranking. I think we pushed top teams in this tournament, really pushed them, and they’ve had to fight for their wins.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t come away with the win but I can’t fault the girls and their effort. We just have to keep working as hard as we are, we’re not a full-time programme.
“We don’t have that fortunate situation where we are altogether all the time so we need to use our time wisely and get to the position where we can cross that finish line where we want to be.”
Leah Wilkinson is a Commonwealth Games veteran for Wales since making her debut at Delhi 2010 and believes the team have taken steps forward in Birmingham despite their results.
“I think it’s the theme of the tournament,” she said. "We’ve started well, not put the ball in the back of the net and then somehow we’ve struggled to get momentum back.
“I think we’ve made massive steps forwards as a squad, over the last four or eight years as a team. We’ve probably soaked up a lot of pressure and not really had opportunities.
“It’s disappointing to finish eighth but in the same way we’re moving in the right direction and we’re a much more threatening team. In a few more years we’ll be able to take those opportunities and push up the world rankings.
“It’s building blocks of slowing improving and I am confident that we are heading in the right direction. It was maybe a bit too early here to achieve what we wanted, though we did believe.
“I think we are going in the right direction and that’s all you can ask for at this stage. At this level, if you don’t punish them then they go back down the other end and punish you.”
This summer, Team Wales, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, compromises of over 200 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Elsewhere at the University of Birmingham, Peter Creed and Emyr Evans lost their round of 16 match in the squash men’s doubles 2-0 to Canadian’s Nick Sachvie and David Baillargeon.
Mixed doubles pairing Tesni Evans and Joel Makin were also knocked out at the quarter-final stage, losing a three-game thriller 2-1 to England’s Adrian Waller and Alison Waters.
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