Africa calling for Scots

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SCOTTISH hockey’s senior women squad will step up a gear this week in their preparations for the Commonwealth Games.

The squad will fly to South Africa this week for a 10 day training camp, which includes seven international matches against their hossts at Tswane University in Pretoria.

Scotland Senior Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd names twenty-four players for the trip, including six stars from Milne Craig Clydesdale Western.

Jennifer Eadie , Catriona Ralph, Holly Cram, Susan McGilveray, Alison Howie and Nicola Skrastin will all be hoping to impress during the trip to Africa.

Former Hutchesons’ Grammar school pupil Jennifer Eadie has a chance to win her first senior outdoor cap in South Africa.

Western duo goalkeeper Amy Gibson and midfielder Morag McLellan are unavailable following their inclusion in the Great Britain squad travelling to the United States to face USA and New Zealand this month.

Looking forward the training camp and international matches, head coach Gordon Shepherd said: “The South Africa camp presents us with a great opportunity to have the players together for intensive training in warm weather and international matches against a high calibre of opposition.

“We’re able to take a large squad, which gives the coaching team an ideal opportunity to look at all the players against the South Africans.

“While results are important, the camp is really about starting to build for the Champions Challenge and Commonwealth Games, and setting the performance standards required for these important competitions.”

The Scottish senior sidelast faced South Africa in a four match series at Peffermill in Edinburgh before the EuroHockey Nations championship last summer. The away side edged the series 2-1, which also included a thrilling 5-5 draw.

Gordon added: “We’ve played South Africa a number of times in the last two years so we know that the players will be tested against a top world nation.

”However, I have no doubt we will test them in equal measure and I’m looking forward to the matches.”

The South Africans come into the matches against Scotland having drawn a three match series 1-1 against Australia, and defeating Belgium 2-1 in a six-test series. Players to watch include veteran goal-scoring machine Pietie Coetzee and captain Marsha Marescia.