WALES captain Abi Welsford has retired from international hockey.

The 36-year-old from Usk won 141 caps since making her Wales debut in 2003 and played at the 2010 and 2014 Commonwealth Game, captaining her country in Delhi and Glasgow.

Welsford won her 100th cap in Lille in 2015 and during the European Championships II in Cardiff last summer broke the Welsh caps record along with her teammate Leah Wilkinson.

The former Cwmbran Ladies forward has opted to hang up stick on the international stage after mulling over the decision.

“I’ve been contemplating retiring for a while now, and started to think more seriously about it leading up to the Home Europeans in Cardiff,” said Welsford, who is a PE teacher at Brynteg in Bridgend.

“But after that tournament I wasn’t 100 per cent decided on what to do and I didn’t want to regret retiring too early, so I decided to stay part of the programme and literally take each squad weekend at a time to see how things went.

“Although I absolutely love being part of the team I came to the realisation that the enjoyment had gone for me personally and it was last Sunday when I finally found peace with the decision that I was ready to stop playing at this level”.

Welsford is going to continue playing the sport at club level with Swansea Spartans.

“I will look forward to having a bit more time and money to do other things,” she said. “What that will be I don’t know exactly now, but I know I’ll stay active and try out some other sports...but probably ones that are indoors in the winter!”

Head coach of the women’s squad, Kev Johnson, paid tribute to role model Welsford.

“The greatest tribute I can give about Abi is that she has been the very embodiment of all of our team values in the time that I have known her, and I have no doubt for a long time before that,” he said.

“As a group that take our values seriously as a way of ensuring we are demonstrating positive behaviours at all times, Abi has been a role model to all players under her leadership and has certainly led by example.

“On and off the pitch she has played a key role in what has been a successful year in 2017, which started with a very positive World League 2 performance in Kuala Lumpur and ended in a memorable home Europeans where Abi herself jointly broke the Welsh women’s caps record with vice-captain Leah Wilkinson.

“In this time as a group we moved six places up the world rankings and Abi and her family can be exceptionally proud of what she has achieved as both a player and a captain.”