Hockey: Derek Salmond handed late Scotland call-up

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INVERLEITH’S Derek Salmond is a late call-up to the Scotland squad for this weekend’s two internationals against England at Lilleshall, the final build-up for the forthcoming second round of the World League in Paris early next month.

Salmond, who did not feature in the first round of the competition last year, makes his return in place of Grange striker Cammie Fraser who is out through injury. This will be a massive test of coach Derek Forsyth’s new side – the English are fourth in the world rankings, compared to Scotland’s more lowly 23rd.

There are early signs of a resurgence in the Scottish team under Forsyth. They waltzed through the first round of the competition last year, winning all four games and scoring a massive 30 goals in the process, then last weekend beat a weakened Belgian side 3-2 and 6-0.

“It will be almost a full-strength England side, their players will be anxious to impress their new coach Bobby Crutchley who will in turn be getting to know his players,” said Eugene Connolly, Scotland’s manager. “We expect hard games, but if we play like we did against Belgium last week, we’re confident that the players can challenge England.”

After the two England games Forsyth will make his final selection for the World League starting on 6 May, reducing the squad of around 22 players to 18 required for the tournament.

Meanwhile, Dundee Wanderers will win the men’s Aberdeen Asset Management Division Two title if they can take three points from one of their double header games against Aberdeen GS and Dundee University this weekend. Wanderers are eight points ahead of second-placed Falkirk GHG with three games to go. The promotion play-off spot lies between Falkirk and McWhinney Uddingston, the former have a seven-point lead but with two games more played.

The women’s Division Two title is a straight contest between Watsonians and GHK, and the sides meet today with automatic promotion as the prize. Victory will give the Edinburgh side the championship as they already have a point advantage, but any other result could see GHK overtaking them. The Glasgow side have a game in hand against mid-table Granite City Wanderers tomorrow.