Western Wildcat Kareena Cuthbert will be part of the Scotland team heading to the Netherlands for the Rabo EuroHockey Championships 2017 this weekend.
The team fly out for the tournament, in which Scotland has been drawn in Pool B. They will play against Germany on Saturday, August 19; Ireland on August 20, and England on August 22 before the latter stages of the championships.
Scotland’s women’s squad has been on fine goal scoring form with three wins from three against France in a recent rest series in Glasgow – scoring 12 goals over the three matches. The wins marked Scotland’s final preparations ahead of the championships in Amsterdam’s Wagener Stadium.
Kareena, who has been player coach with the Wildcats for four years, said: “I’m very excited. It’s one of the biggest tournaments we go to. It’s in a 10,000 seater, which the Dutch will probably fill out as hockey is very popular over there so it will be great to be in that environment and it’s great to be playing against some of the top teams in the world.”
She has been part of the Scotland squad for ‘about 10 years’, but admitted that getting selected for the team is still a privilege.
“Nobody in the team takes their place for granted. Everybody has to fight for their place. If you get complacent you get dropped.
“The team’s been growing for over 10 years and we’re now in the top 20 in the world. We have a squad of about 30 and 18 get chosen for the tournament.”
The teams that Scotland have drawn against in the pool all contain full-time players.
Kareena added: “We’re a small country and it’s a tough pool, but we’ve played all these teams recently and it’s always been very tight games so if we go and do what we can do then we can get some good results.
“We’re a good scoring team and we make things difficult for the opponents. Tournament hockey is a funny thing.”
Kareena is sponsored by local firm ACT Construction, whose funding helps her train and compete.
Gordon Sheperd, Scotland women’s head coach, said: “This selection phase has been one of the hardest we have had. On the back of three wins over France our decisions were made difficult, but I feel we have a squad that can achieve our goals.
“The squad is full of young, exciting players balanced with some very experienced players.”