Sarah Jamieson: Watsonians forward and Capital solicitor says fine details could determine Scotland's Commonwealth Games fate

Watsonians forward Sarah Jamieson was at work before attending the media day for Scotland women's hockey team ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

By Nigel Duncan
Monday, 25th July 2022, 2:37 pm
Updated Monday, 25th July 2022, 3:14 pm

Scotland may be in the fortunate position of having five Great Britain players in their ranks, but other members of the squad hockey with their proper jobs.

Facing the Tartan Hearts in Birmingham will be teams in the world's top ten, like Australia, who boast full-time athletes.

That simple fact underlines the gulf that coach Chris Duncan and the 18-strong squad have to bridge if they want to make a real impact in the tournament.

The playing field is not level, however there is cautious optimism that Scotland can compete with the best, particularly as the Games are only down the M6.

Edinburgh-based Jamieson, a private client solicitor at T C Young, stressed that the emphasis in the final days of training has been to make final tweaks which could tip the balance between success and failure.

The 28-year-old explained: "Yes, we have been preparing for most of this year and even last year, but we must be aware of the teams we are playing and how they approach their games.

"There is a lot of fine tuning but realistically it is all about how we adapt as we want to keep our system."

Scotland and Watsonians forward Sarah Jamieson has been juggling work and hockey in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Craig Watson

Scotland open against world No 16s South Africa on Friday morning (9am to 12.30pm session) and then follow-up against New Zealand, ranked No 8 in the world, on Saturday (7pm to 10.30pm session) . Kenya, ranked 37, come next on August 1 (9am-12.30pm) , and the Scots finish their pool against the mighty Hockeyroos from Australia, ranked No 3, in the morning session on Wednesday, August 3. .

A real benefit to the Scots in the build-up is that a number of the teams have played in the World Cup ahead of their appearance in Birmingham.

Footage of those games has been sourced and the Scotland coaching staff have studied the patterns of play in-depth to glean as much as they can before facing them on the pitch at Birmingham University.

Jamieson, who has also played for Edinburgh side Inverleith, added: "We have four group games, but we're definitely approaching this competition with a mind-set of one game at a time.

Scotland and Watsonians forward Sarah Jamieson has been juggling work and hockey in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Craig Watson

"The games are all very different and the four countries have a very different style of play. It is one game at a time.

"We start against South Africa and have New Zealand the next day then we have quite a big gap before the next game."

Explaining that players have various ways of chilling during a tournament, Jamieson said: "Some just switch off and catch up on sleep, some of the girls have been working as teachers and are recovering from term time.

"I've been finishing off work before going on annual leave."

Scotland and Watsonians forward Sarah Jamieson has been juggling work and hockey in the build-up to the Commonwealth Games. Picture: Craig Watson

The squad believe that there will be a Tartan Army of fans – family and friends – making the trip to the Midlands, and that is a massive lift.

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That's a huge difference from Jamieson's first Commonwealth Games. She made her debut four years ago in the Australian Gold Coast when Scotland came seventh.

She added: "Every Games are different. The Gold Coast was my first one and it was all very new, it was at the other side of the world, and a totally different experience.

"It was a whole different situation in the build-up too and we are calling this a home game as we are in Britain.

"Four years ago we headed out to Australia four weeks before the event and that first week of training we were so jet-lagged.

"We went from the Beast from the East temperatures to over 30c and great humidity and it took around ten days there before we felt normal again.

"Here, we've been training and preparing at Peffermill in Edinburgh where we train a lot and that is just around the corner from where some of the girls live.

"There were no stresses about taking half your life with you in a suitcase and so this is something we need to make the most of."

The heat in the last few days of training at Peffermill, she confirmed, was intense, with record temperatures recorded in Britain thatb week, but Jamieson: "It certainly is unusual."

She plays at Peffermill for Edinburgh club Watsonians, recently crowned Scottish Premiership champions for the first time, and she admitted: "I've seen Peffermill this year in just about every weather situation possible.

"If there are high temperatures in Birmingham we must make sure we are hydrated properly."

It has not, however, been all training and no fun. There was a team building exercise with the Army at Redford Barracks. The highlight was being bussed to Edinburgh Castle to be centre stage as the One O'Clock Gun was fired and that had particular significance for Jamieson, a city centre office worker.

She explained: "Our office is in George Street. I hear the gun every day so it was nice to get VIP access to the firing. It was exciting."

Scotland's squad felt special that day and the Games are special for the athletes, the highlight of some of their careers.

Now their travelling fans hope for something special when the girls start their campaign in Britain's second city this week.

Scotland squad: Amy Costello (Edinburgh University), Amy Gibson (Der Club An Der Alster), Becky Ward (Western Wildcats), Bronwyn Shields (Clydesdale Western), Charlotte Watson (Loughborough University), Ellie Wilson (Watsonians), Eve Pearson (Edinburgh University), Fiona Burnet (Wimbledon) Heather McEwan (Royal Victory) Jennifer Eadie (Wimbledon), Jessica Ross (Edinburgh University), Katie Robertson (Edinburgh University), Louise Campbell (Edinburgh University), Millie Steiger (Clydesdale Western), Nicola Cochrane (Wimbledon), Robyn Collins (Surbiton), Sarah Jamieson (Watsonians), Sarah Robertson (captain, Hampstead and Westminster).