THERE were mixed fortunes for Scotland in the final day of the Investec Cup in London yesterday, the women came away with the bronze medal after a 3-2 win over Wales, while the men collected the wooden spoon after losing 3-0 to South Africa.
Scotland’s women totally dominated proceedings and were well worth their three-goal lead early in the second half, but some sloppy play allowed the Welsh to gain two consolation goals towards the end and took a shine off the victory.
The Scots grabbed the initiative right from the start, with Linda Clement having an early penalty corner attempt blocked.
Three minutes later, a flowing move ended with Emily Maguire passing the ball on to Vikki Bunce, her initial shot was partially blocked and Nikki Lloyd followed up to ease the ball over the line. The ball was in the Welsh net again but Catriona Ralph’s “goal” was disallowed as the ball had not passed out of the circle first. Almost constant Scottish pressure soon paid off again though, when Nikki Kidd’s cross took a deflection off a defender’s stick, it found Bunce running backwards and the Taysider turned and fired in a low shot for the second.
After several chances to increase the lead early in the second half, the contest was effectively over when the diving Ali Bell made contact with a cross from Nicola Skrastin and sent the ball into the bottom corner of the Welsh net with her reverse stick.
Gordon Shepherd’s charges then seemed to become complacent and Phoebe Richards was allowed to chip the ball over Amy Gibson for 3-1. Bell was unlucky not to grab her second, as firstly she sent a shot wide of the target and soon after deflected a cross over the bar, but in overtime Emma Batten got another consolation with a deflection over Gibson.
On Saturday, the Scots lost 2-1 to England in a close encounter. Alex Danson and Ellie Watton put their side two up, before a low drag flick from Nikki Kidd at a penalty corner pulled one back but the home side held out for the victory.
Scotland’s men bowed out in bottom spot going down 3-0 to South Africa, but as the Scots are due to play the same side again in 11 days’ time at the opening pool game of the Commonwealth Games, coach Derek Forsyth was giving little away, and rested goalkeeper Jamie Cachia, striker Alan Forsyth and captain Chris Grassick for the final dress rehearsal.
Although this was perhaps not the result Forsyth was looking for, players recovering from injury and the lack of competitive action were clearly taking their toll.
In a rather uneventful first half, the Scots had their chances, Willie Marshall was about to set up Ian Moodie for a scoring chance but the pass was intercepted by a South African defender, then a perfect pass from Kenny Bain found Wei Adams but his effort was blocked by the goalkeeper. At the other end second-choice goalkeeper Gavin Sommerville had to look lively on a couple of occasions to keep a blank scoresheet.
The half ended in a curious incident when the Scots were awarded an overtime penalty corner. Dan Coultas’ shot was saved at the post and the South Africans left the pitch, but the Scots then complained the ball had hit a defender’s foot. The umpires consulted and a second set piece was eventually awarded – all to little avail as the resulting drag flick from Coultas was saved by the goalkeeper.
After the interval there were early chances, a Kenny Bain shot was saved by the goalkeeper while Coultas’ penalty corner drag flick suffered a similar fate. But it was South Africa who finally went ahead with a penalty corner strike by captain Austin Smith which flew past Sommerville. The Scots seemed to tire and Daniel Sibbald and Smith again added two more before the end.
On Saturday the Scots lost 3-2 to South Africa in the final pool match. They went three down eight minutes into the second half, but that sparked off a spirited comeback with goals from Coultas from the penalty spot and Adams, but the South Africans held out for the three points.