There was great news for the Scottish Hockey fraternity this week, with Team Scotland officially confirmed in both the women’s and men’s competitions at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.
The excitement heightened further, following today’s draw (28 November) which revealed that Scotland will go head to head with the top nations from across the Commonwealth next April.
Teams have been divided into two pools of five based on their FIH World Rankings and drawn in a snaking pattern from the top-seeded nation down to the 10th-seeded nation in order to evenly spread competing nations across both pools.
Scotland’s men are drawn in Pool A, alongside Australia, New Zealand, Canada and South Africa, while the women are in Pool B with Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Ghana. Both teams will be looking to build on 8th and 6th place finishes at Glasgow 2014 respectively.
Following the unveiling of the competition pools, the match schedule for the preliminary rounds was also announced today at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre.
The men and the women will each get their campaigns underway on the first day of the Games (5th April). Indeed the competition will be fierce right from the outset, when both teams are drawn to meet higher ranked opposition in their opening matches, as the women take on New Zealand and the men face South Africa.
The Scotland women’s squad clocked up a victory against Ghana back in February in World League 2 in Valencia. The Scots are set for a warm weather camp in Gran Canaria as they prepare for the Gold Coast.
The Scotland men’s squad have had a sensational year where they won Men’s EuroHockey Championship II, competed in the World League Semi-Finals, and were nominated for Team of the Year in next week’s Sunday Mail sportscotland Scottish Sports Awards.
Both teams will fly the flag for Scotland with pride in the Gold Coast for what will be a sensational showcase of hockey.
Each team will play every other team within their pool during the preliminary round matches from April 5-11 before the top two teams in each pool advance to the semi-final and medal matches from April 12-14.
The pools for both men’s and women’s competitions are listed below:
|MEN’S HOCKEY COMPETITION|
|WOMEN’S HOCKEY COMPETITION|
|Pool A||Pool B|
Reacting to the news, Scotland women’s Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said:
“What an amazing group of games and what a massive challenge – I don’t think it could have been a harder draw. New Zealand are in great form at present after finishing second in the World League Finals. Playing Australia in Australia will have a great atmosphere and they are a top team. Canada are always a difficult side to play and Ghana are ever improving.
“We are all looking forward to the Commonwealth Games and all the matches. It’s this sort of experience that the players and staff work so hard for.”
Also excited to be competing at Gold Coast 2018, Scotland men’s Head Coach Derek Forsyth said:
“This is an exciting pool for the team and one that the players can really compete in if they play to their potential. These matches are tremendous for the squad and will be fantastic to be part of. It’s a great challenge and one we’re looking forward to.”
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) President Louise Martin CBE said:
“Today’s release of the official pools and match schedule for both men’s and women’s Hockey competitions at GC2018 is an exciting milestone for fans of hockey from around the world.
“It’s so wonderful to see such diversity of representation from across the Commonwealth involving the best hockey nations from Asia, Oceania, Europe, Africa and the Americas.”
International Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Jason McCracken said:
“We would like to congratulate all of the teams on their qualification for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Today’s announcement will undoubtedly boost excitement for both teams and fans who now know who they will battle to qualify for the knock-out stages of the competition.
“The Commonwealth Games is a key event in the Hockey calendar for many of these nations. With so many world-class teams involved, plus an exceptional venue for our sport, hockey will be showcased at its best in the Gold Coast next April.
“The sport and its fans are certainly looking forward to what is set to be an outstanding event.”