EuroHockey qualifiers: Scotland 4, Austria 0; France 2, Switzerland 0 (in Dunkirk, France)
Ruth Blaikie made her senior international debut as Scotland cruised to a 4-0 win over Austria in their opening EuroHockey qualifier in Dunkirk, France.
They face hosts France on Thursday and world No.18 Scotland will need to up their game to beat a French side, ranked No.25, who opened their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Switzerland, listed #40, same location.
Blaikie, who grew up in Perth, plays club hockey and has just completed her liberal arts and science degree in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, was thrilled to get her chance and is determined to ensure the quality of Scots for the highest level of international hockey.
She didn’t look out of place in the senior team after playing for the Under-21 team in the recent European Championship recently in Ghent.
Glasgow-born Jess Buchanan won his seventh cap, in the second half, just hours after arriving from Barcelona after senior regular Nicola Cochrane suffered an injury in training on Tuesday. The Scotland Under-21 international made a telling save when she came on and did well in the game to preserve the clean sheet.
Goals from Amy Costello, Jennifer Eadie, Fiona Burnet and Sarah Jamieson secured the win, but coach Chris Duncan said he had mixed feelings about the outcome.
He was delighted that two of the goals came from free-flowing moves and two consecutive penalties, but was not happy that his side had become sloppy allowing the Austrian team, ranked No. 31 in the world, to come back in one game that Scotland dominated in the preliminary stages.
Costello converted after two minutes, firing home into the bottom left corner, from a penalty corner won on their first attack and Eadie doubled the advantage eight minutes later by sending the ball home to from their second penalty corner award, leaving the goalkeeper no chance.
Burnet completed a smooth move to claim the number 3 five minutes into the second quarter and it was 4-0 early in the final quarter when Jamieson completed a nice move involving Heather McEwan.
Duncan said: “The girls know they got sloppy and we have to be better on Thursday against the French. We are the top seeds here and we can’t afford to lose a game here and this was the first of our cup finals.
“The second is against France which, on paper, will provide the toughest opposition. The girls weren’t happy with their performance against Austria and they know they can be better.
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