LESS than 48 hours after receiving an emergency call-up to the Wales women’s hockey team, Newport’s Sophie Clayton was playing in front of the Queen yesterday.
The 20-year-old was a last-minute addition to the squad due to an injury to Eloise Laity and she featured from the bench as Wales put up a battling defensive display in a narrow 2-0 defeat to England.
Clayton is still coming to terms with being a part of the Commonwealth Games but she’s determined to make the most of her unexpected Glasgow 2014 experience.
“I got the call at about 5.30pm on Tuesday evening, which was the last day I could have been called up so it was a shock,” she said.
“Since I’ve been here it’s been an amazing and surreal experience. I’m over the moon.
“The opening ceremony was just amazing and playing in front of the Queen as well was just brilliant.
“I wanted to compliment her on her dress but we didn’t get to meet her.
“She left pretty quickly I heard. She probably gets bored if the action is too fast for her!”
Clayton added: “I’ve got my dentistry finals in September as well so this will be a bit of a distraction but I’m just going to enjoy it.”
Also coming off the bench against the English was Croesyceiliog School pupil Danielle Jordan and she too enjoyed the experience despite defeat.
“It was amazing to play in such a prestigious competition and in such a great atmosphere,” said the 18-year-old.
“We didn’t get to see the Queen but we felt really privileged that she came to watch us.
“Our fellow Celts were cheering for us as well and I also had my mum, dad and sister here so that was special.
“They were really excited and I managed to wave to them at the end.”
Wales captain Abi Welsford was pleased to keep the score to 2-0, having lost 8-0 to the English only a few weeks ago.
“Obviously we played them not so long ago in the London Cup when we didn’t perform quite so well so the focus today was on a strong defensive display,” said Newport’s Welsford.
“We’re a lot happier coming off the pitch than we were a couple of weeks ago.”
Wales face group favourites Australia today before taking on Scotland and Malaysia and the skipper is optimistic that the team can progress.
She said: “Goal difference in the first two games is very important and then the focus in the last two games will change and hopefully we’ll get a better outcome.”