Jones Reflects on a Successful World League Campaign
With the men’s World League campaign coming to an end last week in Belfast, head coach Zak Jones has reflected on a positive campaign for the men that saw them secure a 4th place finish in arguably the most competitive round of the competition, backing up a 1st place finish in round one back in September 2016.
The week in Belfast saw a number of fantastic performances by the Welsh team including wins in the pool games against higher ranked Poland and Scotland that set up a quarter final against Italy. A dominant performance against Italy drew Wales against hosts and favourites Ireland in a box office semi-final that was a classic tournament game. With both sides keen to attack the game ebbed and flowed with Wales pushing the 2016 Olympians all the way. Despite their best efforts Wales lost out 3 -1 that set up a 3rd / 4th play off against familiar opponents Scotland.
In the final game of the week Wales failed to recover from the semi final disappointment and lost out to Scotland 4 – 0 in their final game.
The result meant a 4th place finish for the Welsh men, a huge achievement given Wales were ranked 8th going into the tournament and will no doubt place Wales in a stronger position when the next World rankings are released.
With a number of positives to take from the week Wales will reflect back on some fine performances and rue the fine margins that saw them just miss out on a spot in the final.
Looking back head coach Zak Jones:
“Despite the obvious disappointment around how the tournament ended, I am very proud of the squad and how they performed and carried themselves throughout. On reflection the positives far outweigh the negatives. We have made huge progress in terms of our structures and principles over the course of the World League cycle and the guys delivered some very good performances during the tournament. The fact that we ran Ireland so close in the semi final and were so disappointed not to come through it, is a real indicator of the progress we have made and the level of expectation within the group”
The week was a huge learning experience for the group which Jones expanded on:
“Both the players and coaching staff also gained some very valuable learning about how fine the margins are when you are competing with teams at the next level. That learning has already helped us to clearly identify the key areas we now need to improve and develop upon in order to make the next steps and take our game to the next level. As a collective, we will be working very hard in these areas to make the necessary improvements that will allow us to deliver more consistent, and ultimately successful performances at the business end of high ranking tournaments.”
Images by Perspective Photography