Western Wildcats pair are European hockey champions

Scotland won U18 Girls' EuroHockey Championship II with a sensation 2-1 win over Russia in the final in Rakovnik, Czech Republic. Rachel Bain of Western Wildcats scored the winner in the final minute
Scotland won U18 Girls' EuroHockey Championship II with a sensation 2-1 win over Russia in the final in Rakovnik, Czech Republic. Rachel Bain of Western Wildcats scored the winner in the final minute

Western Wildcats duo Kirsten Cannon and Rachel Bain are European Champions after helping Scotland to a remarkable hockey triumph.

The pair were part of the Scotland Under-18 squad who lifted the Euro Hockey II Championship in the Czech Republic.

Both girls played in all five of the games as the Scots took the title with a 2-1 win over Russia in the final in Rakovnik.

And it was Rachel who secured the gold medal - and promotion to the top tier of European Under-18 girls’ hockey - by scoring a dramatic last-minute winner in the final.

Meanwhile Kirsten had to bravely battle against injury which caused her to come off during the semi-final win over Austria.

The Scots began with a sensational 4-0 win over Wales - Rachel twice coming within inches of getting on the scoresheet - and then followed that up by defeating the highly fancied Russians 3-1.

That put the Scots in a strong position to go through to the last four and they reinforced that with a 6-0 win over Lithuania in their final group match.

Austria were dispatched 2-1 in the semi-final, although it was painful experience for Kirsten who had to come off after being struck in the face by the ball.

That prompted a special mention from coach Keith Smith who said: “Kirsten has been great all tournament and showed tremendous bravery today after taking a knock to the face.

“The girls’ wanted to win for Kirsten; thankfully she’s fine and is already back pitch side desperate to play in tomorrow’s final.”

And so it proved as she returned to play in the final.

After a goalless first half the Scots struck first when Ruth Blaikie of Dundee Wanderers netted, only for Russia to quickly level.

But with a minute to play the ball fell kindly for Rachel who converted to grab victory for Scotland.

Coach Smith said: “It was a great way to win the tournament, I’m absolutely delighted for the girls. The players have spoken a lot about leaving a legacy – they all have friends and family in the age group below so they wanted to leave a legacy for them.”