SCOTLAND will play host to the 10th EuroHockey Junior Indoor Championship in Stirling this weekend, as eight of the continent’s top U21 indoor international teams vie for the coveted European Championship title at The Peak leisure centre in Stirling Sports Village.
The hosts will be in action with the Scotland U21 Women indoor squad taking to the floor against Poland, Portugal and Czech Republic in Pool B of the competition. Meanwhile, Austria, Belarus, Czech Republic and Sweden are the teams making up Pool A.
Head coach, Dave Stott, names 12 players in his squad, including recent Commonwealth Games internationalist Morag McLellan, and Milne Craig Clydesdale Western team-mates Alex Wilson, Nicola Lowrey, Fiona Bruce and Nicola Skrastin.
Heather Stafford and Isobel Rosie return from club action south of the Border, while CALA Edinburgh pair Amy Brodie and Fiona Plain are also included by Stott.
Looking forward to the challenges ahead, Stott said: “Obviously, our immediate aim is to retain our status in the Championship I division. Indoor hockey plays an important role in the development of our youth international players, so we want to keep our place at the elite level for the next Indoor Championship in 2013.
“This will help to maintain the intensity of competition for our young players to experience and take forward in the development of their hockey careers. Our U18 players are now involved in a performance programme for indoor hockey and it will be to their benefit that they have a top level international competition to aim for in the next two years.”
Scotland will play Russia and Portugal in their first two pool matches on Friday, and Stott was keen to emphasise the importance of starting the tournament strongly against the Russians.
He said: “If we can get off to a good start against Russia, then it gives us confidence going into the next game against Portugal. These tournaments are very close, so it’s important to reach a high performance level from the off and maintain that consistency for the rest of the competition.”
Stott continued: “Our preparations haven’t been helped by the weather we had over the Christmas and New Year period, but the Grove Menzieshill tournament provided the girls with a good run out and allowed them to practice the system and tactics we want to use in the Europeans.”
Indeed, the Scotland U21 squad will also play a warm-up match against Belarus on Thursday morning and will get a full flavour for the challenge that lies ahead against the other European sides competing in Stirling.
“The eastern European teams will play a similar, physical style of hockey so I expect the likes of Belarus, Poland and Russia to provide the toughest challenges throughout the competition,” said Stott.
“However, we won’t underestimate the Swedes or the Portuguese either, and the Czech Republic will bring a decent team. After all, it’s the top tier of the continent’s junior indoor competition, so there are no easy games at this level.”
In partnership with Scottish Hockey, European Hockey Federation and Active Stirling, the three day EuroHockey Junior Indoor Championship takes place at The Peak, in Stirling Sports Village. Stirling Sports Village is the biggest single development for sport and leisure in Stirling for over 30 years with an investment of £27.3 million funded by Stirling Council and sportscotland.
The Peak, which is the indoor complex at the Sports Village, is managed and programmed by Active Stirling.
Up to 250 spectators are expected for each day of the tournament, but there will be a number of tickets made available on the door. Great value season tickets can be purchased for the three days of competition, as well as single tickets for each day. U16s and concessions are admitted for free.
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Scotland U21 Women: I Rosie (Bristol Firebrands), S Cowie (Granite City Wanderers), A Brodie, F Plain (CALA Edinburgh), F Bruce, N Lowrey, M McLellan, N Skrastin, A Wilson (Milne Craig Western), H Elder (VWS Dundee Wanderers), K Hall (Grove Menzieshill), H Stafford (Bradford Wakefield).
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Scotland U21 W Squad:
|Squad No.||Surname||First Name||Club|
|2||Cowie||Siobhan||Granite City Wanderers|
|3||McLellan||Morag||Milne Craig Clydesdale Western|
|4||Wilson||Alexandra||Milne Craig Clydesdale Western|
|5||Bruce||Fiona||Milne Craig Clydesdale Western|
|8||Elder||Heather||VWS Dundee Wanderers|
|9||Lowrey||Nicola||Milne Craig Clydesdale Western|
|15||Skrastin||Nicola||Milne Craig Clydesdale Western|
Stirling Sports Village
|Friday 21st January 2011|
|Saturday 22nd January 2011|
|15.30||C||4th Pool A||v||4th Pool B|
|16.40||C||3rd Pool A||v||3rd Pool B|
|17.50||SF1||2nd Pool A||v||1st Pool B|
|19.20||SF2||1st Pool A||v||2nd Pool B|
|Sunday 23rd January 2011|
|10.00||C||4th Pool A||v||3rd Pool B|
|11.10||C||3rd Pool A||v||4th Pool B|
|12.30||3/4||Loser SF1||v||Loser SF2|
|14.00||Final||Winner SF1||v||Winner SF2|