Two veteran hockey players from Milngavie and Bearsden found themselves on the global stage recently when they received call-ups for the Exin Masters World Cup.
Alison Hosie (44), from Bearsden, and Karen Longmuir (43), from Milngavie, were part of the Scotland squad which travelled to Terrassa, near Barcelona, for the prestigious event.
Goalkeeper Alison, a Scottish Human Rights Commission research officer, plays for GHK Ladies and striker Karen, who owns and runs her own retail design business ‘Ae Fond Kiss’ in the West End and plays for Clydesdale Western.
Both were thrilled to represent their country at one of the biggest hockey events ever staged, with more than 1800 players representing 25 nations.
The pair played six games in seven days in temperatures reaching 38 degrees.
Terrassa was where Team GB won bronze in the 1992 Olympics and Alison and Karen had the opportunity to rub shoulders with Ali Ramsay and Wendy Justice from Scotland’s O50s and O55 squads, both of whom were part of that 1992 medal-winning squad.
Both players agreed that: “As the ‘youngsters’ in the tournament you learn from the best and, for us, that has been one of the best aspects – being coached by some of the best players and coaches.”
For Alison, coming to goalkeeping later in life, participating in the Masters was about pushing herself and proving that it was never too late to compete on an international stage.
Similarly for Karen, the chance to play international hockey was too good an opportunity to miss – and brought her out of retirement.
To make the team Alison and Karen had to commit to a fitness programme, attend extensive training sessions and be part of an 18-strong squad assembled from all over Scotland.
Scotland were drawn in the ‘group of death’ containing the World and European Champions, and the European silver medallists. So despite good performances against The Netherlands, Germany and Ireland, they lost all three and were placed alongside France, Wales and Belarus for the final classification grouping.
An 8-0 win against Belarus, in which Karen scored her debut goal for Scotland, set them up for the second half of the competition before a fantastic performance against Wales saw them come through 2-0 winners.
They drew their final match 1-1 against France. It meant Scotland topped their classification group, coming in 13th out of 16 in the 040s section.
Both Alison and Karen agreed that representing Scotland at the World Cup had been an amazing experience and an immense privilege.
And both are now keen to build on that experience and fight for a squad place at next year’s Home Nations and European Cup.