Birmingham 2022: Team Scotland off to winning start in hockey, bowls and badminton

Scotland began their Commonwealth Games women’s hockey campaign with a statement 4-2 victory over South Africa.

Sarah Robertson’s side came back from 2-1 down to start their Pool B campaign on a winning note.

Robertson, Charlotte Watson, Fiona Burnet and Louise Campbell were all on target as the Scots roared to victory in front of a partisan crowd at University of Birmingham.

Robertson said: “It was a game of fine margins but we defended well and we took our opportunities.

“We’ve had a really big build up so that first game is always going to be a bit nervous.

“The atmosphere was absolutely brilliant. The stadium was absolutely rocking.

“It was great to have fans back in the stadium and we definitely sensed a real sense of Scottish support and probably some of them were English as well supporting a home nation.

“We were delighted with the support today.”

Scotland's women hockey players celebrate a goal in the 4-2 win over South Africa on day one of the Commonwealth Games. Pic: David P McCarthy

They are back in action against the Black Sticks of New Zealand on Saturday who will provide even sterner opposition.

Meanwhile, lawn bowls legends Alex Marshall and Paul Foster overcame a sluggish start to open their pairs campaign with a win over Jersey.

Marshall and Foster are aiming to upgrade the silver medal they won on the Gold Coast but were 3-2 down in the early stages of their Section B opener.

They chipped away and claimed a 22-7 triumph, with group games still to come against the tiny island nation of Niue, Canada and New Zealand.

Scotland's Kirsty Gilmour defeated Aminath Nabeeha Abdul Razzaq from the Maldives in the women's singles Group C opener. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Marshall said: “We both struggled at the start to get the right line and length but once we changed the length, Paul came into a really good game and we managed a bit of a lead, and that took the pressure off."

Foster added: “We're always quietly confident because we know how well we can both play, but that first game you just want to get points on the board."

With flagbearer Kirsty Gilmour to the fore, Scotland’s quest for a mixed team badminton medal got underway with a thumping win over Maldives.

Gilmour won her singles match 21-4 21-10 against Abdul Razzaq and her team won all four further rubbers to take an emphatic win.

"[It was] good, I've not even practised on the show court and it's a weird set-up for us,” she said.

“But it's really nice, we should do this more often. It's so nice to have the focus all on one thing that's happening and to have a nice crowd in is good too."

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