Internationals on their way to Clydesdale

AS PLANS speed up for the first full international hockey matches to be played at Titwood, the Scottish Hockey Union is looking to recruit full-time coaches for selected top clubs.

With Clydesdale’s synthetic pitch having been upgraded to a water-based, international standard last year, the club is said to be among the likeliest candidates from hockey’s first division to apply.

The three-year partnership deal will be backed financially by Scottish Hockey’s new sponsor, Aberdeen Asset Management, and the coaches will be available to start work with clubs in the coming autumn.

Successful clubs are likely to have established a good practice track record in developing players to national squad level, with a strong youth programme and links with local schools.

Clydesdale’s hockey landscape has been thoroughly transformed since the installation of their first all-weather pitch in 1997, when only a handful of boys played the sport.

Now, the club has more than 400 junior members, and the sport has found increasing favour with boys, whose numbers have climbed to more than 150.

There is also heightened interest ahead of the pre-Olympic women’s hockey test matches which are due to be played at the end of this month.

Scotland will play South Africa in five matches at the new Clydesdale facility, which will be officially opened on May 27 by a trio of former Barcelona Olympic hockey bronze medallists who developed their talents with the Western Ladies club based at Titwood.