Hockey: Why Commonwealth Games might not be top priority for Scotland women this summer

Scotland don’t open their Commonwealth Games campaign until late July, but senior women’s head coach Chris Duncan insists it is not a long time to prepare for such a major event.

Scotland women in training at Fettes, where they focused on attacking. They have a very busy summer coming up. Picture: Nigel Duncan
Scotland women in training at Fettes, where they focused on attacking. They have a very busy summer coming up. Picture: Nigel Duncan

Only a few days after the end of the Games in Birmingham, Scotland open their account in the EuroHockey Championship Qualifier Group D in Dunkirk, France. An even bigger challenge perhaps.

Duncan, who is director of hockey at Edinburgh Academy, reckons he has a lot of work to do with the squad in a very little time.

Scotland open their Commonwealth Games schedule on Friday, July 29 against South Africa and 24-hours later they square-up to New Zealand.

Scotland head coach Chris Duncan knows his team have a huge summer ahead, with time to prepare already running short. Picture: Nigel Duncan

It is Kenya v Scotland on Monday, August 1 with Australia v Scotland on Wednesday, August 3.

The classification matches 9/10 and 7/8 are on Friday, August 5 with the semi-final also on the same day. The bronze medal match and the final are on Sunday, August 8.

Duncan explained: “It is good to have a target and goal to aim towards as that keeps everybody focused, but that first whistle will be upon us before we know it.”

The squad had a tough day session in the Capital last weekend at Fettes College and Duncan said: “It is hard during the domestic season to get the players together and spend quality time.

“We try to pack a lot into the days we have and we have had a really good block. We have been working on our attacking play and what we do when we have the ball.

“Now our focus will turn to what we do without the ball and how we defend as we move closer to matchplay."

April is a busy month for the squad with three games against Ireland and five against Wales.

The European Championship qualifiers from August 24 to 27 when Scotland go in against hosts France, Switzerland and Austria. Only the winner qualifies for the championship proper and there’s lots at stake.

Duncan added: “The way our finding cycle works the European qualifier is possibly the more important tournament.

“From a coaching and training perspective, it is trying to keep people fresh. We do not want to go to the Europeans without any energy.”

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