Hockey Series Open: Wales make winning start against Slovakia

Rupert Shipperley celebrates
Rupert Shipperley scored Wales' last goal

Wales got off to a winning start to the 2018 Hockey Series Open in Croatia with a comfortable 6-1 victory over Slovakia.

Gareth Furlong and Owain Dolan-Gray scored in the opening 10 minutes before Ben Francis added a third.

Rhys Bradshaw and Furlong extended Wales' lead in the third period before Rupert Shipperley completed the rout.

Wales next face Austria - the highest ranked side at the event - on Tuesday, 26 June (18.30 BST).

Despite the emphatic scoreline, head coach Zak Jones was not completely satisfied.

"It's not a bad start to the tournament but it probably should have been a lot better," said Jones.

"We dominated possession and territory but we weren't clinical enough when the opportunities were created."

Jones' side were 26 places above their opponents in Zagreb and the difference showed early on when experienced defender Furlong scored from Wales' first penalty corner of the game inside six minutes.

Dolan-Gray doubled the lead before Francis combined with Dale Hutchinson to score Wales' third before half-time.

Slovakia could not live with Wales' pace, especially down the right flank from where Bradshaw tapped in his first international goal.

Furlong's trickery earned a penalty that he converted from the spot after 43 minutes.

Tomas Romanec clawed a goal back for Slovakia from their first attack of the second half but Wales had the final say through Shipperley.

The top two sides in the five-team, round-robin tournament. progress to the next round of the Open Series in 2019.

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