Final: Match 20: Italy 1-2 Scotland (E. Bianchi / S. Jamieson, C. Watson)

Scotland, backed by a huge home support, won Women’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow with a 2-1 victory over Italy. The Tartan Hearts had already gained promotion back to the top level of European hockey, and did so with a gold medal at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

The Scots got off to an excellent start and enjoyed lots of early pressure in the contest.

Six minutes into the final, Scotland took the lead. Bex Condie powered her way into the D and turned the defender before smashing the ball goal ward. Sarah Jamieson deflected the ball past the goalkeeper and it bobbled over the line to make it 1-0.

It was nearly a quick response from the Italians as they carved Scotland opened at the back for a one-on-one with Amy Gibson, but the goalkeeper was out quick to block.

Scotland continued with some good pressure and Sarah Robertson showed some lovely skill to keepie uppie her way into the D, but she couldn’t find an Italian foot at the vital moment.

At the start of the second quarter Italy had the ball in the back of the Scotland net but it was chopped off for a back stick in the build-up. The Italians looked sharp as half time approached but they couldn’t break Scotland down, and the Tartan Hearts held onto their lead at the break.

Early in the second half Fiona Burnet thought she’d scored but the goal was disallowed and the gap remained at one goal.

Scotland continued to search for a second goal and Amy Costello had opportunities from penalty corners to find the net. The first prompted an excellent save low to the left, then another was blasted just wide of the right post.

Then Robyn Collins came close, this time from an elaborate penalty corner routine that saw the ball switched around the D with Collins smashing just wide left.

The Italians emerged back into the contest and very nearly equalised when a great attack down the left saw Gibson touch the ball onto the post and wide.

After a series of Italian penalty corners it was Scotland who managed to strike the next goal. Amy Costello did well to win the ball, break forward and send Louise Campbell sprinting down the right. Campbell cut the ball back and Charlotte Watson managed to force the ball over the line to make it 2-0.

In the final minute of the match Italy pulled one back when a penalty corner looped into the net, but Scotland held on and won Women’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow.

Scotland Head Coach Jen Wilson said, “I’m absolutely delighted with the win. We said yesterday we had one more job to do and the girls’ absolutely went out and did it today. It was a tough game for us but we played how we know we can play. It’s very exciting how this team is developing and they’ve earned this win tonight.”

Captain 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.”

Bronze Medal Game: Match 19: Austria v Poland 2-4

Poland hold Austria at bay to finish 3rd place in the 2019 Women’s EuroHockey Championship II at Glasgow National Hockey Centre. It’s Austria 2, Poland 4.

Poland start strong, heading deep into Austrian defending quarter and are quickly awarded their first attacking corner. The ball comes crashing from the top of the circle towards goal, cracking against the backboard. Poland celebrate but the Umpire is shaking her head; a Polish foot has helped the ball in. No goal.

Some lovely work down the park from Austria’s Number 23 Nathalie Matousek and Number 5 Helene Herzog gets the ball to the Polish defending circle. A bit of pushing from the Polish defence leads to a penalty corner, quickly followed by another but neither are converted.

Austria keep trying. Number 3 Corinna Dvorak is strong towards the circle, winning the long corner. She drives again but no one is there for her cracking cross into the circle.

As Poland counter the building Austrian momentum, Number 25 Fiona Felber saves the 0-0 scoreline for Austria with a neat shave off the stick of Poland’s Number 24 Wiktoria Blaszyk, working the ball well to earn the free hit. Number 27 Lisa Streyer pushes up, followed by Number 10 Corinna Zerbs but they can’t make it work; Zerbs’ strike goes wide. It’s 0-0 in the end of the first quarter.

Austria’s Fiona Felber does well in the corner to retain possession at the beginning of the second quarter, working well with Number 20 Miriam Gerö and Number 17 Marta Laginja to get the break for Austria but they can’t quite maintain their momentum. Poland regain possession.

A reverberating tackle from Austria’s Stefanie Podpera sends Poland’s Captain Marlena Rybacha down but the Umpire says its clean. As play continues, Poland’s Magdalena Zagajska makes a great tackle from Austria’s Corinna Zerbs to drive into the circle, winning an attacking penalty corner for Poland. The ball comes out to the Captain but the shot goes wide. Poland continue to drive to break the deadlock; a mistake from the Austrian defence in their own circle allows the Poles to cross into a waiting Zagajska, who finds the shot to make it 0-1.

As they aim to extend their lead, the Austrians try to defend against the Polish attack but a touch on the wrong side of the stick gives the Poles the penalty flick: Captain Rybacha steps up but it’s wide. We’re still at 0-1 at the end of the second quarter.

In the third, Poland push again but Austria want it more: Laginja finds Amelie Malik, who works it into the circle to find Lisa Streyer on the penalty spot. It’s 1-1.

Poland work hard to counter. In the early phases of the attack, Austria’s Stiefelmeyer saves the even scoreline for Austria but Poland’s Number 29 Dzesika Mazur makes something of the rebound from the Keeper’s pads, lifting the ball over her head to put Poland ahead. Austria 1, Poland 2.

Austria counter though as Number 6 Johanna Czech makes good use of the angle available to her to find the space behind the Keeper. It’s 2-2 at the end of the third quarter.

Poland drive early in the fourth to win an attacking penalty corner. Stiefelmeyer is there for save though so the scoreline remains deadlocked.

Poland won’t take no for an answer though. A cross comes in from the right, it’s messy in the circle but Number 7 Zagajska finds the touch to send the ball into the roof of the net; it’s her second of the match and 2-3 for the Poles. She drives again soon after, aiming for the hat-trick but she sends the ball too high.

Not to be counted out, Austria’s Herzog breaks out on her own; it’s attacker versus Keeper but Herzog can’t find her way around. Austria try to make something of their advantageous position in the circle but the Polish defence hold strong.

As the quarter draws to a close, Poland seal their third place finish in the 2019 Women’s EuroHockey Championship II: Number 24 Wiktoria Blaszyk beats Stiefelmeyer in the circle, running the ball graceful into the goal. It’s 2-4 at 60 minutes. Austria are 4th. Poland are 3rd.

Earlier the Pool C games concluded: 

Match 17: Wales v Czech Republic 1-2 

Wales get things underway with an early attack; Number 23 Hannah Cozens gets the strike but the Czech Republic’s Keeper Barbora Cechakova is down early for the save. Number 21 Xenna Hughes tries again but can’t find her way around Cechakova.

Wales continue to dominate, linking up well through the middle; Captain Leah Wilkinson finds Phoebe Richards on the spot. Richards lines up the strike but the Czech Keeper is there again, keeping the scoreline at 0-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The Czechs come out strong in the second quarter but the Welsh counterattack quickly; Number 8 Sarah Jones gets the run, finding Hughes but Cechakova’s goal appears impenetrable at this stage. Wales won’t take no for an answer though as Hughes works hard to get to the top of the circle; a lovely strike from her reverse stick sends the ball neatly into the left corner. It’s 1-0 to Wales at the end of the second quarter.

Despite Welsh efforts at the start of the third, the Czech Republic get the break, finding Number 17 Veronika Decsyova; she takes the strike and finds the space at the right post. It’s 1-1.

A green card for Wales’ Number 10 Phoebe Richards causes some confusion in the middle. The Czech Republic take advantage and drive towards the Welsh defence; Decsynova finds the space in the circle again to make it 1-2 at the end of the third quarter.

In the final quarter of the match, Wales are given the opportunity to equalise with a penalty corner but some indecision at the top of the circle allows the Czech defence to run down the ball.

As tensions rise, a flurry of cards are awarded to both sides and add some excitement to the end of the match. The scoreline, however, remains the same: Wales 1, Czech Republic 2.

Match 18: Ukraine 5-2 Turkey

Ukraine defeated Turkey in the final day of Women’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow with a 5-2 win. It was not enough for Ukraine to avoid relegation and both teams will play in Women’s EuroHockey Championship III next time out.

It was an intense opening to the encounter with so much at stake; Ukraine had a good first quarter to the contest as they went hunting for goals. It was Turkey, however, that had the best chance. A penalty corner routine brought out a great save to deny the Turks the lead.

Turkey took the lead early in the second quarter when they opened up Ukraine on the left and picked out Melis Kosker at the far post who prodded the ball over the line for 1-0.

In the second half Ukraine looked really sharp, with Oksana Ponomarenko in particular looking really dangerous. Ponomarenko came close with a neat turn and shot from the left of the D that was well blocked by the goalkeeper’s leg guards.

A penalty corner that followed soon after saw Ponomarenko snap a low shot at goal and another good save denied the goal.

Ukraine’s equaliser came midway through the third quarter and it was Olha Kurovska who deflected the ball into the goal to make it 1-1.

Some good Turkish goalkeeping kept Ukraine at bay but the attacks were relentless in the third quarter.

Turkey was awarded a penalty stroke early in the third quarter and it was dispatched well into the bottom right corner to make it 2-1.

Ukraine equalised through Yana Vorushylo – a penalty corner that deflected through a ruck of players and found the back of the net for 2-2.

The Ukrainians took the lead when a penalty corner routine saw the ball return to the injector, Yuliia Shevchenko, who flicked the ball from a tight angle into the far corner for 3-2.

Another penalty stroke went the way of Turkey but this time it pinged wide of the right post. Moments later Ukraine broke into the Turkey D and a cut back was dispatched into the net by Shevchenko for 4-2. Another goal for Shevchenko at the end completed the scoring for Ukraine.

All games are available to rewatch on www.eurohockeytv.org 

Photographs are on our FaceBook page: Duncan Gray (c)