Wales goalkeeper Toby Reynolds-Cotterill’s world was turned upside down after they beat Ireland 2-1 in October to qualify for the 2021 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup and beat France 2-1 in the knockout stages of the tournament on Thursday.
That win over Ireland was the last time Reynolds-Cotterill’s father saw his son play for his country. “He watched every game he played. He likes being here. What he’s talking about will be amazing. If he’s watching, he’ll be happy with how today turns out. He said Wales were rescued after a four-run penalty shoot-out victory that saw them finish in the top 12 at their first World Cup.
Reynolds-Cotterill called it the most significant result in Welsh Men’s Hockey. “It might mean a little more to me because my father died a year ago yesterday.”
“To do this today, even though he’s not here all year, I know he would be very proud. It means a lot,” he said.
Reynolds-Cotterill also used the opportunity to get the Welsh team to spend more time training together. “We trained once between August and November,” he said, “and playing against teams that train all the time is very difficult.”
The Welsh also have a double-edged sword with their progress in the form of the Great Britain team. Reynolds-Cotterill is part of Team GB’s goalkeeping squad alongside England’s Ollie Payne and James Mazarelo. At 25, he’s the oldest of the trio of so-called funnymen. “Of all the other teams, I’m probably the youngest,” he laughs.
“There are three of us here. [in the Wales squad] It was part of the GB set-up and we started from there,” the goalkeeper said. “For our benefit, we’re hoping to get more guys in the GB set-up, or we’re hoping to get some more training ourselves, it’s harder.”
Wales’ next assignment will be the European Championships in August, with Reynolds-Cotterill taking heart from their displays in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela this month. “We have shown that we can go toe-to-toe with the likes of India and France. We can be proud of our achievements but it is a learning curve. We need to fight hard in these tournaments. It’s % from the start,” he said.
On an exciting day for Reynolds-Cotterill; He was a hero on a historic day for his country. Top 12 this time; They are hungry to go higher in 2026.