U16 girls in Poznan, Poland 9th-11th April.
The U16 girls face Ulster in two games 28th-30th March before breaking new ground and heading to Poland, for the first time, two weeks later.
The girls were able to secure two victories against Ulster last year (0-2, 1-2) and Coach Richard Davies will be looking for the same result: “Our team, although young, is the most athletic squad we’ve put out in the last five years. It will only be a question of whether we can match them physically at this stage, as our Ulster squad is a bit younger.
“Ulster is a very strong and well organised side providing a good experience for this squad.”
A more seasoned Scotland girl’s side will then head east, consisting of older girls who have hit the pitch at a few destinations further afield, many who competed in Ulster last year. Scotland is a familiar opponent of Poland in women’s U21 and senior level, usually coming out on top, but for the U16s this is their first time facing such an established international side.
In recent years, Poland’s women’s programme has steadily come up the ranks, making waves in European hockey. According to the European Hockey Federation, Poland’s “Women (2005) and club teams Pocztowiec PoznaÅ„ (1995, 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005) and Grunwald PoznaÅ„ (1994) have stood on podium during European Championships.”
With that said, Davies explained: “For Poland we’ve chosen an older more experienced side, which should be able to cope with what we expect to be a fairly physical encounter.
“Poland is a strong and physical side that usually passes well so we’ll need to really be on top of our game.”
Davies summarised Scotland’s objectives for the different squads: “With a less experienced, but promising, squad for Ulster we want to show them what would be expected of them if they were picked for the final squad over an international test series. In Poland we are looking for a stern test to measure ourselves against a strong international side. We want to gauge our development up to this point and to know areas of focus going forward, playing Poland will definitely give us this opportunity.”