Amongst Scotland’s hockey squads in Delhi for the Commonwealth Games are some very experienced players who will play an important part in guiding the younger players through tough pools for both the men and women’s teams.
Captaining the women is Linda Clement who is taking part in her third Games and has 153 capsin her international career so far. She has been part of the Scottish team since 1999 and will lead the team out on 4 October against India for a staggering 89th occasion.
Clement said, “For the last ten years, hockey has been a massive part of my life. As the years have gone on I have gained a lot of experience and being captain for a lot of those caps have been a huge honour.”
Two other members of the women’s team will reach their 50th caps during the games, namely Alison Bell, who scored in tonight’s 1-1 draw with Malaysia, and goal keeper Abi Walker.
When not keeping goal, Walker is a surgeon in London and finds hockey as a good release from the stress and pressure of her day job.
“Working together in a team and working with different personalities for a common goal can be really helpful at times as a doctor,” explained Walker.
Tonight’s warm-up match will be the only game for the women before their Indian fixture but coach Gordon Shepherd has had a good chance to see what work needs to be done in the coming days.
Shepherd reviewed the game saying, “The girls played with reigns on today as we don’t want to give too much away to the Indians before Monday but I was happy with areas of the game and there are just a few things to tidy up on.”
Assessing their pool matches Australia, India, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago, he continued, “The target the players have set themselves before coming out here is to finish fifth. To do that we have to beat South Africa or India, along with Trinidad & Tobago but they are in great physical condition, have played great hockey all summer so we’re capable of achieving the target.”
Key milestones for some of the men’s team are still to come and they are all feeling confident after a 3-3 draw with New Zealand this morning. Goals from Stephen Dick, Gareth Hall and Mark Ralph put the kiwis under some pressure and the men now have three days of training before facing Pakistan on Tuesday.
Ralph will receive his 150th cap in the opening match while Dick will collect his 100th in their first cross-over game following the pool matches.
Both teams will be hoping to keep the list of achievements and accolades rolling in coming days with strong performances and results to upset the rankings