The Scotland Women’s team begin their preparation for the FIH World Cup Qualifying Tournament with two matches against Wales, this weekend, at Auchenhowie.
The matches, which are non-capped internationals, will commence at 2pm on Saturday and 11.30am on Sunday. Spectators are welcome, with Covid mitigation protocols in place.
The matches provide the first competitive international outing since the European A Division. This weekend will allow the first opportunity to assess the wider squad, prior to selection for the World Cup Qualifiers in Pisa in late October. Scotland will require to win the Eight team knockout competition if they are to qualify for the World Cup in Spain and the Netherlands next summer.
Head Coach Chris Duncan said, “We have had a really tough but rewarding block of training over the last seven weeks. The players have invested a tremendous amount of time and effort into embedding the ideas and structures we have delivered. Given this has coincided with pre-season and the beginning of the Premiership in Scotland, it has been a big ask for everybody involved, and the players and staff have been fantastic.
In our recent games against the GB Elite Development Squad (EDP), we tried out different variations and combinations of players and learned a great deal about our defensive systems. These matches against Wales will be different, however. Wales are a good team and will be at full strength, especially with the inclusion of their GB players, Leah Wilkinson and Sarah Jones, who are fresh back from their Tokyo bronze medal success.
In our opening game in the qualifying tournament, we play Poland who beat Wales in the recent European B division. Wales are in the same half of the draw as us out in Pisa. So, the opportunity to test ourselves now against another team in the competition is invaluable.
We have focussed on developing coordination in our performances, where players both understand and complement each other’s strengths in how they play. The high standard opposition this weekend will be extremely useful as we move into our final phases of preparation.
As always, it’s a real privilege for the players to pull on a Scotland shirt, and to do it at the home of one of our biggest clubs is really positive.”
Scottish Hockey would like to thank Western Hockey Club for kindly offering to host the matches and for their support in our build-up to the World Cup Qualifiers.