Scotland’s senior women shake things up in a test series against Belgium, who are preparing for an Olympic qualifier, 15th-16th February in Nivelles.
Scotland coach Keith Joss said: “Belgium will be intent on getting a good result, we’ve beat them three times in the last year; twice at Inverclyde and then 2-0 in the semi-finals at the EuroHockey Nations Trophy in Lithuania. They’ll be keen to get a victory against us but I’m confident we’ve got a squad that can win.”
The series, which hosts a training match on Friday night at 20:00 and two capped games Saturday at 15:00 and 19:00, will help prepare Belgium to face some of the world’s best, such as India and the Netherlands, at the Olympic qualifier in Kazan, Russia this April.
Under less pressure, Scotland’s aim is more experimental: “We will be looking to develop new tactics, one of our main objectives is to implement a few changes we’ve been practicing in training to test them out in a competitive environment without much risk,” explained Joss.
A not so tactical change for Scotland this series is the lack of star goalkeeper Carmin Dow’s name on the squad list along with Kareena Marshall. These valuable players, still concentrating on their indoor game, are preparing to compete with their club team Milne Craig Western in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Champions Cup in Wels 22-24th February. A few other Scottish regulars are out of action due to work or studying commitments.
Keith Joss is prepared; he’s got talent ready to step in like Julie Bryce (Kelburne) and Becky Ward (Dundee Wanderers). Ward is making her debut Saturday gaining her first outdoor cap for Scotland. Julie Bryce, who holds one outdoor cap, will be looking to transfer her momentum from the indoor court out to the pitch. Bryce was the top goal scorer for Scotland at the EuroHockey Indoor Championships in Almeria, Spain last month, scoring a hat trick against Ukraine.
Bryce said: “Facing Belgium I’ll expect the unexpected. I’ve never played them at this level but I’m looking forward to it; I think I’ll learn a lot. Her main goal is to: score, score, score. Besides netting the ball, Bryce mentioned: “I’m also keen to see how I can play at this level. It will be good for me to get more familiar with the team.” The forward has a head start as four of her clubmates from Kelburne will be in Nivelles.
Despite a few familiar faces, Bryce and teammates have plenty adjustments to make. Keith Joss concluded: “As I mentioned this is a good opportunity for us to test out new combinations and tactics. This is also a chance for us to make sure our outdoor game is still ticking over in winter months.”
Scotland Senior Women’s Squad List
The following athletes have been selected to represent Scotland at this event:-
Name Club Caps: Sco GB Total
1 Cath Rae (Kelburne) 8 8
2 Vikki Bunce (Bonagrass Grove) 80 11 91
3 Clare Scott (Milne Craig Western) 6 6
4 Samantha Judge (Milne Craig Western) 125 1 126
5 Becky Merchant (Bonagrass Grove) 1 1
6 Linda Clement © (Bonagrass Grove) 117 18 135
7 Julie Bryce (Kelburne) 0 0
8 Ailsa Robertson (Bonagrass Grove) 24 1 25
9 Nikki Kidd (Bonagrass Grove) 31 31
10 Louise Carroll (Bonagrass Grove) 88 7 95
11 Emily Maguire (Kelburne) 11 11
12 Fiona Donald (GHK Ladies) 1 1
13 Katie MacKay (Kelburne) 7 7
14 Julie Mitchell (Giffnock) 50 50
15 Alison Bell (Bonagrass Grove) 15 15
16 Becky Ward (Dundee Wanderers) 0 0
Head Coach Keith Joss
Manager Mark Huddleston
Coach Iain Strachan
Coach Susan Ahrens
Coach / Video Operator Richard Davies
Physiotherapist: Lindsay Thomson
Friday 15th February 2008
20:00 Match 1 v Belgium
Saturday 16th February 2008
15:00 Match 2 v Belgium
19:00 Meal at Nivelles Clubhouse