Scotland Women ready for FIH Champions Challenge

The FIH Champions Challenge in Dublin, Ireland on 18-26
June will pose the first real test of Scotland Senior Women’s
summer campaign, with a number of the world’s top international
sides vying for promotion to the FIH Champions Trophy.

Scotland face matches against fellow pool opponents South Africa
(18 June), USA (19 June), and Japan (21 June) before the cross-over
matches (23-26 June) to determine the overall tournament standings.
The Scots will also play a warm-up friendly against India tomorrow

Gordon Shepherd names a strong and settled eighteen player squad
for the trip across the Irish Sea and looking forward to the
tournament, the head coach is aware of the challenges that lie

“To finish in the top six at the Champions Challenge will be our
target and that would be a really positive result for us given that
we are the lowest ranked team at the tournament. The teams we will
face are of high calibre at international level but we will go out
to win every game and compete with our opponents in each match.

We ran South Africa close in the Commonwealth Games last year,
and we have become stronger with key players returning to the squad
and in good form. That said, there will be no easy games for the
squad and we anticipate a tough set of matches ahead of us.”

Having now recovered from the knee injury that ruled her out for
the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, Reading’s Laura Bartlett will
lead the attack and the Great Britain forward will hope to shine at
the Champions Challenge with a forthcoming Olympic season on the

Meanwhile, Vikki Bunce has been a real star of the 2010/11
domestic season in Scotland for Dundee Wanderers, with the 28 year
old inspiring the Taysiders to National and European indoor titles
and a second place finish in Women’s National League Division

In particular, her performances in Delhi caught the eye of both
commentators and selectors alike. Coupled with a real eye for goal
and mazy dribbling skills, Bunce’s drive and determination will
hopefully shine through during this summer’s international

Linda Clement will continue to lead the national side as
captain, whilst Grove Menzieshill’s Kat Cameron is in line to reach
a personal milestone of 50 international caps for Scotland.

South Africa will pose the first test in the opening pool
contest and they have been on an imposing run of international
victories recently, including a series wins against China and
Belgium, but come into the tournament on the back of two defeats to

The USA warmed up for the tournament with home fixtures against
Japan and Argentina in April, before the domestic Senior Women’s
Championship in late May, where national players had their final
opportunity to impress the squad selectors before the trip to
Dublin. Amongst the players Scotland will need to be wary of are
Olympians Carrie Lingo, Tiffany Huisman, and Rachel Dawson, who
also have the experience of Pan American Games and World Cups
included on their resumes.

Japan currently lies 9th in the FIH World Rankings and
subsequently, and are likely to enter the competition as favourites
to top Pool A amongst the four sides. The Japanese national team
finished in 3rd place behind New Zealand and South Africa at the
2009 Champions Challenge in Cape Town, SA, so they will feel
confident of challenging for a place amongst the top three
positions in Ireland.

“The tournament provides us with a real focus and is great
experience for the players with the Europeans next month our top
priority. The last two years have been leading up to and working
towards promotion from our European group and that will remain our
main focus for this summer.”, said Shepherd.

Pool B consists of hosts Ireland, Spain, India and Azerbaijan,
where Spain and India will be amongst the favourites to be in
contention for the top places.

Scotland Women: Abi Walker (Canterbury Ladies),
Leigh Fawcett, Kat Cameron, Louise Baxter, Linda Clement (c),
Alison Bell, Alisa Wylie, Nikki Kidd (all Grove Menzieshill), Amy
Gibson, Catriona Ralph, Sam Judge, Holly Cram, Morag McLellan (all
Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Emily Maguire, Laura Bartlett
(both Reading), Vikki Bunce, Becky Ward (VWS Dundee Wanderers),
Kareena Marshall (Giffnock).

More information can be found on the FIH website.

Women’s FIH Champions Challenge – Match

Pool A

South Africa
United States

Pool B


Sat 18 June

10:00 A Japan v United States

12:30 A South Africa v Scotland

15:00 B India v Ireland

17:30 B Spain v Azerbaijan

Sun 19 June

10:30 A United States v Scotland

13:00 A South Africa v Japan

15:30 B Azerbaijan v Ireland

18:00 B India v Spain

Mon 20 June


Tues 21 June

11:00 A Japan v Scotland

13:30 A United States v South Africa

16:00 B Azerbaijan v India

18:30 B Spain v Ireland

Wed 22 June


Thurs 23 June

10:00 QF 1st Pool A v 4th Pool B

12:30 QF 2nd Pool B v 3rd Pool A

15:00 QF 2nd Pool A v 3rd Pool B

17:30 QF 1st Pool B v 4th Pool A

Fri 24 June

15:30 5/8 v

18:00 5/8 v

Sat 25 June

13:00 SF v

15:30 SF v

Sun 26 June

09:00     7/8 v

11:30     5/6 v

14:00     3/4 v

16:30     FINAL v

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