Birmingham 2022: Scotland hockey captain Sarah Robertson ready to learn from past Commonwealth Games

Sarah Robertson reckons the step up to captain Scotland’s hockey team feels totally ‘natural’ ahead of her third Commonwealth Games.

The 28-year-old from Melrose will lead her country for the first time at a major tournament in Birmingham this summer, having previously skippered Scotland during several friendly matches.

Add an Olympic bronze medal to her case for the captaincy role, and it’s easy to see why the Hampstead and Westminster midfielder was entrusted with the armband.

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“We had a whole consultation process about what the future of leadership looked like in our squad,” Robertson explained.

“I was very involved in that, but I didn’t think it would be me. In the interim I took the captaincy role and I think it suited the group quite well.

“I have experienced success with the GB team so I think having that experience suited me well to the role and where we are as a squad.

“When I got the call-up it felt quite natural but also such a huge honour and huge sense of pride.”

Robertson, who only started playing hockey at the age of 13, is one of just nine players in Scotland’s 18-strong squad to have starred in a previous Commonwealth Games.

Scotland captain Sarah Robertson in action during a Commonwealth Games warm-up match against India. Jeff Holmes / JSHPIXScotland captain Sarah Robertson in action during a Commonwealth Games warm-up match against India. Jeff Holmes / JSHPIX
Scotland captain Sarah Robertson in action during a Commonwealth Games warm-up match against India. Jeff Holmes / JSHPIX

She believes that Scotland have learnt from the mistakes of previous Games and are now well-placed to launch an assault on the medal places.

“I’ve had two very different experiences of the Commonwealth Games,” she recalled.

“The first one in Glasgow as a 21-year-old totally starstruck in awe of everything and then we had 2018 in the Gold Coast, a totally unique experience in terms of by the beach on the other side of the world.

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“At that time I hadn’t spent that much time with the Scotland team as I had been down south with the GB team.

“Now it’s completely different, I’m the captain and I have spent a lot of time with Team Scotland. It's definitely the one I’m most prepared for, we’ve spent the most time together as a group and it is a home from home.”

It is absolutely a home Games for Robertson’s Team GB Olympic colleagues, who she will cross paths with during her stay in the West Midlands.

But much to her relief, Scotland will avoid both England and Wales during the group stages, with the pair instead drawn together in Pool A.

“It’s a really weird and bizarre environment,” Robertson added.

“Ninety percent of the time those girls are my teammates. They know how passionate I am to be Scottish. There’s also a weird sense that both countries support each other, until you meet, you want each other to do well.

“There are no hard feelings off the pitch, but we definitely play full out in it. It’s classic Scotland against England.”

Scotland have been drawn in Women’s Pool B with Australia, New Zealand, Kenya and South Africa, who they face in their opening group match on day one of the competition on Friday at the University of Birmingham.

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