First introduced to the Commonwealth Games in 1998, Hockey has quickly cemented its place and is now a core sport that must be included in each Games. While Team Scotland is yet to win a medal in any team sport, our Hockey players have impressed right from the women’s 5th place on their debut in 1998 to the men’s best ever result last year in Gold Coast. Here are the top three performances from Scottish teams as we look back on 20 years of Commonwealth Games Hockey:
Melbourne 2006 – Best Women’s Result and Men’s Debut
Scotland’s women secured their best ever finish of 5th place at Melbourne 2006. While they had also finished 5th on their debut eight years previously, there had been no classification matches at those Games, meaning they were awarded 5th equal rather than 5th place outright. In Melbourne Vikki Bunce was one of the top scorers of the tournament, scoring five times to equal the tally of New Zealand’s Krystal Forgesson and Nicole Hudson, Olympic gold medallist with Australia. Scotland finished 3rd in Pool B behind New Zealand and England and a 3-0 win over Malaysia in the classification matches gave them 5th place, with Rhona Simpson, Linda Clement and Emma Rochlin the scorers.
Scotland men made their Games debut in Melbourne, qualifying for the first time. They were drawn in a tough Pool A with New Zealand, England, Australia and Canada. A 2-0 win over Canada, followed by a 2-1 victory over South Africa in the classification matches gave them 7th place, to finish two places above their ranking going into the tournament. Two players, Niall Stott and captain Mike Leonard, celebrated their 100th caps on the opening match of the Games.
Gold Coast 2018 – Best Ever Men’s Finish
Scotland’s men took an outstanding victory in the 2017 EuroHockey Challenge II and went into the Games set on bettering their eighth place finish from Glasgow 2014. There was a wealth of experience in the squad with Kenny Bain, Alan Forsyth,William Marshall and Gordon McIntyre all selected for their third Games and a further four players returning from Glasgow 2014. The men got their Commonwealth Games off to a flying start with a 4-2 victory over South Africa in Pool A, before also facing Canada, New Zealand and Australia.Despite best efforts, they too succumbed to some top class opposition, but as a result of a better goal difference they finished third in their Pool and faced Malaysia in a play-off for fifth / sixth. Alan Forsyth took the lead for Team Scotland when he scored on 10 minutes;but Malaysia, ranked 11 places above them in the world rankings, didn’t take long to equalise and then went ahead in the second half. 2-1 to Malaysia was the final score, however sixth place represents Scotland’s best ever finish in Men’s Hockey.
After qualification for the World League semi-finals in 2017 and a successful test series against Wales, the women’s side were looking to build on their sixth place in Glasgow. 12 players made their Games debut, while five returned from the Glasgow 2014 side, along with defender Kareena Cuthbert, whose last Games appearance was Delhi 2010.The women had a difficult start to their campaign, with a heavy defeat against New Zealand, and then a draw against Canada. Things picked up with a 5-0 win over Ghana, before losing their final match in Pool B to Australia to finish fourth in their Pool. They fought hard in their classification match against Malaysia to win the game 4-2 and finish the competition in seventh place.
Kuala Lumpur 1998 – Scotland Women 5th on Debut
Hockey made its Commonwealth Games debut in 1998 as team sports were introduced to the Games for the first time. Scotland’s sole team – the women’s side – were drawn in Pool A alongside India, Australia, Malaysia, Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica. After a heavy loss to eventual gold medal winners Australia in the opening match, Scotland rallied well with a 5-1 win over Jamaica and 2-1 wins over both Malaysia and Trinidad & Tobago. Their final group game, against India, ended in a 2-2 draw, meaning both sides ended the group stages on 10 points but India advanced to the medal matches on goal difference.