Brave Scots lose to New Zealand in Birmingham


Scotland’s women went down by the only goal of the game to New Zealand in their second match at the 2022 Commonwealth Games at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre.

Despite being ranked nine places below their opponents, the Scots produced a disciplined, hard-working performance and were desperately unlucky not to take a share of the points.

Following a strong start by the Scots, New Zealand earned two penalty corners in quick succession. However, Scotland defended them well and went on the attack. Tenacious play from Bronwyn Shields earned a penalty corner, but Amy Costello was unable to get her shot away.

With 10 minutes on the clock the deadlock was broken when the Kiwis won a penalty corner which Rose Tynan deflected into the net. Then Heather McEwan thought she had equalised after quick thinking by Katie Robertson, but it was disallowed. The score remained 1-0 for the rest of the first quarter.

New Zealand’s high press was making it difficult for the Scots to get out from defence, but they always looked dangerous when they did break away and Jen Eadie drew a great save the ‘keeper. Both Scots’ goalies, Nikki Cochrane and Amy Gibson, made a series of good saves.

Two minutes before half time, great work by Eadie and Shields combined to win a penalty corner. The ball broke for Eadie who smashed home what appeared to be the equaliser. However, after a video referral the goal was disallowed for apparently not leaving the D, but it seemed a very harsh decision.

The second half had a similar theme with the Kiwis creating more chances but they couldn’t find a way past the inspirational Cochrane. Katie Robertson, Sarah Jamieson and Ellie Wilson were having excellent games, and a superb shot from McEwan was tipped over the bar. A strong run from Charlotte Watson earned a penalty corner but it was well defended.

In the first minute of the final quarter, Amy Gibson made a world-class triple save as she refused to be beaten. And brave defending by Millie Steiger thwarted another penalty corner.

Sarah Robertson continued to drive at the Black Sticks’ defence and was on the receiving end of some strong challenges. With a last throw of the dice, head coach Chris Duncan replaced his goalie with an outfield player, and then the Kiwis had a player yellow-carded, giving the Scots a two-player outfield advantage, but they just couldn’t find a way through their opponents’ strong defence.

New Zealand were very relieved to hear the final whistle and hang on to their 1-0 win. However, it was desperately hard luck on the courageous, hard-working Scots team who are ranked 17th in the world against their 8th ranked opponents.

The Scottish forwards and midfielders put in a huge shift, and the defence worked superbly as a unit to frustrate the talented New Zealand forwards. The whole team should be proud of their efforts.

The wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the Scots supporters who continued to cheer on their team to the end.

The result leaves Scotland in third place in Pool B on 3 points from their first two matches. Their next match is against Kenya on Monday 1 August.

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