Scotland crowned EuroHockey II champions, Wales finish fifth

Scotland Win 2019 EuroHockey Championships II

Scotland’s women’s capped off a perfect week by claiming the EuroHockey Championship II title in front of a partizan crowd in Glasgow.

Having already secured qualification to the top tier for 2021 the previous day, Jen Wilson’s side produced a fine performance to beat Italy 2-1 and ensure they finished the event with a 100% record.

It wasn’t quite such a perfect day for Wales as they went down by the same scoreline to Czech Republic but still secured a fifth-placed finish, one spot lower than they finished in 2017.

Scotland 2 (1)
Jamieson (6’, FG), Watson (57’, FG)

Italy 1 (0)
Bianchi (59’, PC)

Boasting an unblemished record coming into the final, Scotland would have felt confident of overcoming an Italian side - ranked two places higher above them in the world - that caused so many upsets at last year’s Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup.

And they made the perfect start as Sarah Jamieson scored her second of the tournament to give her side a sixth minute lead.

Both teams had further chances before Fiona Burnet thought she’d doubled her side’s lead early in the second half, only for the goal to be disallowed.

The game became a very physical and scrappy affair after that, with four green cards shared between the two teams in the final quarter as well as yellow card in the 49th minute for Italian captain Chiara Tiddi in the 49th minute.

Tiddi then conceded a stroke with just four minutes to play, only for Kate Holmes to fire it just wide. However Tiddi was then shown a second yellow before play restarted for dissent, which meant an automatic red card that saw her side reduced to ten players for the rest of the game.

Scotland took immediate advantage as recent GB debutant Charlotte Watson bagged her second goal of the tournament with three minutes to play.

Eugenia Bianchi then found the target with just over a minute to play but it was too little too late for the Italians as Scotland secured their first title since winning the same tournament back in 2011.

In amongst the celebrations after the game, captain and top goalscorer Kaz Cuthbert said: “I’m delighted, absolutely ecstatic.

“We had a goal when we came here – to get promoted and win the tournament. We got promotion yesterday and today was all about the gold medal.

“It’s important that we continue to develop from this but we’re over the moon to have won this on our own patch.”

Huge congratulations to Kaz Cuthbert, Jennifer Eadie, Nicki Cochrane, Louise Campbell, Becky Ward, Amy Costello, Sarah Robertson, Fiona Semple, Charlotte Watson, Sarah Jamieson, Emily Dark, Kate Holmes, Robyn Collins, Fiona Burnet, Bex Condie, Amy Gibson, Lucy Lanigan, Millie Steigher and head coach Jen Wilson on their victory.

A special mention to Scottish Hockey too for hosting a fantastic tournament.

Wales 1 (1)
Hughes (23’, FG)

Czech Republic 2 (0)
Decsyova (32’, FG; 35’, FG)

Having thumped Ukraine to the tune of seven the day before, Wales couldn’t quite match that performance against a Czech Republic side currently five places higher than them in the world rankings.

They had taken a lead into half-time courtesy of another fine goal from Xenna Hughes - her fourth of the tournament - as she produced a great finish on the reverse in the 23rd minute.

But two strikes in three minutes from Veronika Decsyova - who finished as the competition’s joint-top scorer with five goals - saw the Czechs hit back for their second win of the tournament.

Wales still finished an impressive fifth though on goal difference ahead of their opponents and then Ukraine, whose 5-2 victory over Turkey not enough to see them relegated for 2021.