Catriona Matthew deserves recognition as role model

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QUITE a stooshie was stirred up last week when a journalist in a Scottish tabloid newspaper had a pop at women’s sport in the country and, in particular, questioned the value of £1.2 million being spent by the SFA and its partners on ladies’ football.

Having a niece who, from humble beginnings in the Borders, has risen to Scotland Women’s level – she played in the recent game against the United States that attracted a crowd of more than 18,500 in Jacksonville – you won’t be surprised to hear that I disagreed with the article in question.

Apart from the odd gem like Gala’s John Collins, after all, the Borders isn’t exactly renowned for being a hotbed for football talent, yet, through the efforts of SFA development officers like Walter Borthwick, coaching opportunities are far better than they were when I kicked a ball – the odd centre-forward, too – for St Abbs Thistle in the Border Amateur League.

What irked me more, however, than what actually sparked a heated debate about women’s sport was that I never saw a single mention of Catriona Matthew when it came to people talking about the current role models in Scotland.

A major winner and six-time Solheim Cup player, yet, as has been the case for most of her career, the North Berwick woman was overlooked in favour of athletes and badminton players that don’t come close to Matthew in terms of achievements. Thankfully, her legacy is shaping up nicely. At Kingsfield Golf Club on Saturday, Kevin Craggs, her coach and the SLGA’s coaching guru, was overseeing a squad session for up-and-coming girls, the majority of whom will probably have been attracted to the game by Scotland’s long-time No 1 and one of the country’s great sporting ambassadors.

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