The Scottish Hockey Union and the Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland have announced the women’s hockey squad who will compete in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in March 2006.
There is a mixture of youth and experience in the 16-strong squad, with six of the named athletes having already experienced this level of competition as part of the Scotland squad for the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
For a number of the younger members of the team, this will be their first taste of a multi sports event. Captain Linda Clement, vice captain Rhona Simpson, Emma Rochlin, Jane Burley, Samantha Judge and keeper Debbie McLeod were all members of the squad who finished sixth in the Manchester Games.
Aimee Clark, Catriona Forrest, Cath Rae and Nikki Kidd, who was today announced the winner of a prestigious UK youth hockey award, were key players in the U21 squad who competed in the Junior World Cup in Chile last year.
A question mark still hangs over defender Rochlin as she has still to prove her fitness and form following a cartilage injury. With a squad of only 16 selected for the Games there is no margin for error so all of the players must be fully fit to take their place in the squad.
National coach Lesley Hobley is happy with the composition of her squad.
'This is an exciting young squad with a core of experienced players, all of whom have been selected on merit. For the younger girls in particular, this experience will stand them in good stead for the future,” she said.
The Scottish Commonwealth Games team will be the best prepared team ever and the hockey squad, with Scottish Institute of Sport and sportscotland support, has certainly benefited from an excellent preparation programme ahead of the Games.
In addition to training and tournament work, the team have enjoyed the services of a number of experts including a session at the weekend with Dr Sherylle Calder, the world’s leading exponent of visual skills coaching who worked with the English Rugby team prior to their World Cup win.
The squad’s confidence has obviously been buoyed by their two recent wins over Ireland and they plan to capitalise on that success in a forthcoming four-nation tournament in Durban, South Africa, which also features the Irish team.
This will provide the squad with additional tournament experience allowing them to work on pressure situations and try out different styles of play.
Looking forward to the 2006 Commonwealth Games themselves, Hobley is pragmatic about what lies ahead
'This is going to be a tough tournament and we’ll have to knock over one of New Zealand or England to progress.
“We haven’t played New Zealand recently and they are preparing well with a five-Test series in Japan. However, they were beaten by Italy recently and we know we can beat Italy. And we can certainly compete with England'.
Scotland Women – Commonwealth Games
Vicki Bunce, Jane Burley, Louise Carroll, Aimee Clark, Linda Clement, Catriona Forrest, Samantha Judge, Julie Kilpatrick, Nikki Kidd, Debbie McLeod, Louise Munn, Cath Rae, Emma Rochlin, Alison Rowatt, Cheryl Valentine, Rhona Simpson, Coach: Lesley Hobley, Assistant Coach: Audrey Sime, Manager: Brent Deans
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