Hockey star’s medal aim

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Determined Cat Ralph has issued a battle cry as her team prepare for the Commonwealth Games.

“We sat down as a team and decided we aim to reach the semi finals,” said the Clydesdale Western defender who is Scotland’s women’s hockey team’s vice captain.

This would be a significant improvement on the seventh place finish in Delhi four years ago, and indeed the seventh place finish in the FIH Champions Challenge in Glasgow just over a month ago.

However, at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre at Glasgow Green this summer, the 30-year-old believes the team will have the support to go the extra mile.

She told ExtraSport: “It is a very high target we have set ourselves, especially with both Australia and England in our group.

“But we have made huge improvement since Delhi and on our day we can beat anybody.

“Having a stadium filled with 5,000 fans, the majority of which will hopefully be supporting us will make a huge difference.

“That boost cannot be underestimated, it will be like having an extra person on the pitch.”

Cat’s Clydesdale Western teammates, Susan McGilveray, Morag McLellan and Nicola Skrastin also made the 16 women squad, which will also face Malaysia and Wales in the group.

Alison Howie and Holly Cram could still be in with a chance of appearing, as both have been selected as reserves.

“It’s an amazing achievement for the club and shows what strength in depth we have.

“It’s a dificult time for Holly and Alison, they gave absolutely everything they could and are hugely disappointed. But they have had time to digest the news now and they are 100% behind the team.

“Ultimately they will train like they are going to play, and that will help everybody.”

Former Clydesdale Western keeper Amy Gibson, now playing for Old Loughtonians, is also in the squad.

The team have been able to train full time in the run up to the Games, thanks to the support of the Scottish Institute of Sport.

Cat, a physiotherapist at the Southern General, added: “It has been incredible being able to devote myself to hockey. It has allowed us all to have better quality sessions, rather than training before and after work.

“We have been able to rest and recover more. It could be difficult to go back to normality after the Games.”