Draw against Japan ensures second place in Pool A at Champions Challenge
Scotland continue to defy the odds at the FIH Champions
Challenge in Dublin, as Gordon Shepherd`s charges held tournament
favourites Japan to a 1-1 draw earlier today.
Not only did the Scots maintain their unbeaten record, but this
result guaranteed them second place in the pool, consigning the
much fancied Japanese to third.
Shepherd always maintained that a solid defensive platform would
be the key to Scotland`s success and keeper Abi Walker and her
colleagues performed heroics to limit the talented Japanese to a
After a slow start, a half chance fell to Ali Bell after good
build-up work by Catriona Ralph and Laura Bartlett. However,
the opener was only delayed a couple of minutes after Sam Judge`s
drive into the circle was blocked by a Japanese defender, only for
Nikki Kidd to follow up with a strike to guide the ball home for
her third goal of the tournament.
Japan retaliated with three consecutive penalty corners; Walker
saved two of them while the other sailed over the bar. The
Scots almost struck again when Vikki Bunce took a quick free hit
and her cross was deflected into the net by Ailsa Wyllie, but it
was disallowed as the ball had not travelled five metres before
entering the circle.
The Japanese finished the half strongly and there was a let-off
when they clipped the ball over the bar from only a few yards
However, the equaliser came for Japan as Shiho Otsuka equalised
with a scrappy goal that was bundled past Walker, before the Scots
keeper prevented a further goal with a reflex save.
The Scots were under the cosh at the start of the second half
and Walker was forced into several crucial saves to keep on level
terms. Gradually Shepherd`s charges came back into the
contest, helped by a couple Japanese players in the sin bin.
The only real chance came at their first penalty corner but Vikki
Bunce`s drag flick was blocked by the keeper. As the game
drew to a close, the Japanese were limited to counter-attacks, but
again Walker had to look lively to prevent further scoring.
The Scots just missed out on pole position when the Unites
States held South Africa to a thrilling 5-5 draw in the other
match, leaving the Springboks just in front on goal
difference. There were four goals for South African`s
Pietie Coetzee and she is now the world`s top international
goal scorer with 222 strikes.
For more information on the competition, please visit the FIH Champions Challenge website.
- Premiership sets up an intriguing weekend of action
- New Communications Consultant
- Masters World Cup
- Premiership back in action
- Premiership Hockey Returns
- BRAVE Academy Coaches & Managers Wanted
- Scots finish 2nd and 3rd at School Games
- Mixed fortunes for Scots at School Games
- Scots start strongly at School Games
- Scotland squads compete at UK School Games