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Commonwealth challenge for Scots
13 Oct 2005 15:48

Scottish Hockey Union: Scotland’s men have been handed a tough assignment in their first ever Commonwealth Games after being drawn in the same group as Olympic and Commonwealth champions Australia.

Making up the reaminder of Pool A for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia, are Commonwealth silver medallists New Zealand, England and Canada.

While the Scots recently jumped two places in the world rankings to number 20, they are still ranked below the rest of the teams in their group but are optimistic about their prospects.

'This is the first time that the men have qualified for the Commonwealth Games which is not only a big achievement, but is indicative of their improved performance over the past three years,” Scottish Hockey’s Performance Manager Brent Deans said.

“This is a difficult group, but we are going into this competition on the back of recent wins against two of the other teams in the pool, Canada and England, so are feeling positive. This is a great opportunity to challenge and compare ourselves against the world’s top hockey nations.'

Scotland’s men, supported by the Scottish Institute of Sport, play their first match against the host nation, Australia, on Friday 17 March, 2006

In the women’s competition, Scotland have also drawn New Zealand, England and Canada, with Barbados the final team in their group.

The women should have an easier time than their male counterparts as they are ranked higher than both Canada and Barbados on the world stage.

'This is a good pool for our women’s team and there are real opportunities there. 2006 is a very big year for us, with both the Commonwealth Games and World Cup Qualifiers falling in the early part of the season,” Deans said.

 “We have a good pool of players available to us which augers well and will be a key factor in our aim of a top four finish in this tournament.'

The Scottish Institute of Sport supported women’s team open their Commonwealth campaign against New Zealand on Thursday 16 March.

View the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Match Schedule

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