Scotland Senior Women will embark on a busy summer of international hockey this weekend when they play Wales and Ireland in the annual Celtic Cup tournament at thesportscotland National Centre, Inverclyde.
Taking place from 3-5 June, the Scots will hope to get the summer off to a positive start when they defend their Celtic Cup title, although the importance of quality preparation time for the squad and the level of performance are the key priorities for head coach Gordon Shepherd this weekend.
“The Celtic Cup matches will provide the squad with an important opportunity to come together for the first time since Delhi, so we are really focussing on the time spent in training and increasing the quality of our performances in preparation for the Champions Challenge and Europeans this summer”, said Shepherd.
“Players included in recent Great Britain squad have also returned for these matches, so it’s important that we use the Celtic Cup to prepare for forthcoming tournaments, particularly as this weekend will be our last competitive outing before travelling to Ireland for the Champions Challenge.”
Shepherd has chosen a familiar and experienced line-up for the competition, with sixteen of the squad who travelled to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi included amongst the eighteen players selected, and the Scots will be quietly confident of making it a quintet of Celtic Cup titles following competition wins in the last four years.
“We have an experienced squad now, with Laura Bartlett and Becky Ward coming back into the fold, and this consistency will bode well for the tests and challenges ahead of us. If we play to our strengths and focus on our performances, then we will have a good chance of retaining the trophy”.
“However, as I’ve outlined, the competition is really about our preparations for the FIH Champions Challenge in Dublin and the EuroHockey Nations Trophy in Poznan, and these tournaments provide us with our real focus over the coming weeks.”
Reading and Great Britain forward Bartlett returns to the international squad for the first time since the World Cup Qualifier in Chile last season following a knee injury sustained whilst in action for Great Britain, whilst Ward has had an excellent season for VWS Dundee Wanderers.
The Scots will continue to be captained by stalwart Linda Clement, who will continue to add to her remarkable haul of 158 caps this weekend. The matches will also be a milestone for Louise Baxter, who collects her 99th and 100th caps for Scotland against the Welsh and Irish, and Shepherd paid tribute to the Grove Menzieshill midfielder,
“It is a fantastic achievement for any international player to reach 100 caps for their country and our congratulations go to Louise for reaching this landmark. She is an important player in the squad and I’m sure she will continue to add to her cap total for Scotland.”
All matches will be played at the sportscotland National Centre, Inverclyde in Largs and season tickets for all three days will be made available on the gate priced at £12 for Adults, whilst day tickets are also available at £5. U16s and senior citizens will be admitted free.
Scotland Women: Abi Walker (Canterbury Ladies), Amy Gibson, Catriona Ralph, Morag McLellan, Sam Judge, Holly Cram (all Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Leigh Fawcett, Kat Cameron, Louise Baxter, Nikki Kidd, Linda Clement (captain), Alison Bell, Ailsa Wylie (all Grove Menzieshill), Emily Maguire, Laura Bartlett (both Reading), Becky Ward, Vikki Bunce (both VWS Dundee Wanderers), Kareena Marshall (Giffnock Ladies).
Notes to Editors:
Photo attached: Louise Baxter, Scotland vs. Malaysia, World Cup Qualifier, Chile, 2010.
Match and Training Schedule:
|Date||Time||Opposition / Training||Venue|
|3rd June||19.00||Scotland vs. Wales||Inverclyde|
|4th June||14.00||Wales vs. Ireland||Inverclyde|
|5th June||14.00||Scotland vs. Ireland||Inverclyde|
|Coach||Shepherd||Gordonfirstname.lastname@example.org||07985 522 269|
|29||Gibson||Amy||Milne Craig Western Clydesdale||5|
|8||Ralph||Cat||Milne Craig Western Clydesdale||83|
|19||McLellan||Morag||Milne Craig Western Clydesdale||10|
|9||Judge||Sam||Milne Craig Western Clydesdale||144|
|11||Cram||Holly||Milne Craig Western Clydesdale||89|
Source: Scottish Hockey