Everyone was expecting a packed stadium at tonight’s women’s match where Scotland face hosts India and many of those home fans were expecting a victory for their team. But Scotland came out firing and upset a team ranked ten places above them in the world with a 1-1 draw.
The crowds were considerably lacking in numbers but did their best to make up for it with their cheers and chants. Scotland’s support wasn’t far behind though and the flags of family and friends around the ground were a real support to the team.
People had barely settled into their seats when Scotland took the lead with a strike from Holly Cram in the fourth minute. A man-down after Cram was given a yellow card, India tried to counter attack, earning a penalty corner minutes later that came off the post. Aimiee Clark had to retire from the match with a hand injury but Scotland stayed calm and controlled the majority of first half play to stay ahead.
India upped the pace in the second half and capitalised on some Scottish errors to push into the circle and eventually got their reward in the 15th minute. Scotland kept pressing for the remainder of the match with end to end play that excited the spectators which included Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex and Shona Robison, Scotland’s Minister for Public Health and Sport.
Scotland’s scorer Cram reflected on the match saying, “It was great to score a goal tonight. We created lots of chances and we have lots to take forward into our next game.”
The Scottish Women’s Player of the Year in 2008 continued, “All credit to everyone behind the scenes in our team. We are definitely the fittest and fastest Scottish team I have been part of and our fitness will really tell towards the end of the competition.”
Coach Gordon Shepherd was delighted with his team. He told reporters after the match: “We’ve just drawn with a side that is ten places above us in the world and who were at the World Cup. I thought we played some brilliant hockey and fought right to the end.”
When asked about the small attendance he said, “The lack of crowd is disappointing but they still made a lot of noise and we just focused on our game. We have another massive game tomorrow and we’re still on track.”
There is not much time for recovery and reflection as the women are back on the pitch tomorrow evening against South Africa who defeated Trinidad & Tobago 12-0 earlier in the day. The men play their first match of the competition at 10am against Pakistan and they will be hoping to continue the strong start from the women.