Playing for the jersey

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THE southside’s hockey stars are ready to test their mettle against some of the best in the world on home soil this week.

The International Hockey Federation women’s FIH Champions Challenge I will be staged at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre from Sunday till May 4.

Hosts Scotland feature in Pool A alongside Korea, Belgium and India, while USA, South Africa, Spain and Ireland are drawn in Pool B.

Teams will progress to a quarter-final stage following the round-robin pool format, before contesting classification matches, including semi-finals and final. The winners of the FIH Champions Challenge I will progress to the women’s FIH Champions Trophy in 2015.

The ladies are on fire as they continue their preparations for the competition.

Clydesdale Western’s Cat Ralph, Morag McLellan, Susan McGilveray ,Nicola Skrastin, Jennifer Eadie, Fiona Burnet , Holly Cram and Ali Howie played their part in a 3-0 series win over Wales at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

In the first game, on Saturday, Scotland made light work of Wales, hitting double figures in a 10-1 win. The ladies secured the series win with a 7-1 win on Sunday. Clydesdale captain Cat Ralph manged to get herself on the scoresheet.

In the third game, Scotland managed to introduce some of their younger prospects, but still managed to secure a 6-2 win, thanks in part to two goals from Holly Cram.

Hockey fans will also be presented with the opportunity to view some of the world’s top international male players when the Four Nations competition takes place this week.

Scotland will face competition from Argentina, Belgium and England as their preparations for Glasgow 2014 heighten in intensity.

Scotland Senior Men Head Coach Derek Forsyth said: “The players are looking forward to the competition, and the tournament will provide a great opportunity for them to test themselves against teams ranked in the world’s top ten.

“We were able to bring the squad together for training matches and preparation in Holland last week and despite some challenges in travel, the guys benefitted from the opportunity to train and play as a squad.

“This type of preparation will always be more important and valuable than training camps alone.”

These two events will be the first international matches to be staged at the brand new Glasgow National Hockey Centre, the venue for Commonwealth Games hockey.