Western Wildcats trio all set for Commonwealth Games

Rob Harwood of Western Wildcats and Scotland (pic by DunCcan Gray/Duncolm Photography)
Rob Harwood of Western Wildcats and Scotland (pic by DunCcan Gray/Duncolm Photography)

Three Western Wildcats players head Down Under next week as Scotland’s hockey players start their Commonwealth Games preparations.

Club coach Kareena Cuthbert will captain the ladies’ team - which also includes her Wildcats team-mate Becky Ward - while Rob Harwood is in the men’s squad.

Becky Ward of Western Wildcats and Scotland (pic by John Preece)

Becky Ward of Western Wildcats and Scotland (pic by John Preece)

For Kareena, the opportunity to skipper the team in Australia goes some way towards missing out on her home Games in Glasgow four years ago after damaging a cruciate ligament six weeks before selection.

She said: “I’m absolutely ecstatic to be going. I had the heartbreak of missing out on Glasgow, having been to Delhi previously, so it’s just really nice that all the hard work’s paid off.

“It’s just such an honour to be put out there as captain and lead the girls.

“It’s a big thing because there’s three of us going from the club, which shows how much our club’s grown over the last couple of years.

Kareena Cuthbert of Western Wildcats and Scotland  (pic by John Preece)

Kareena Cuthbert of Western Wildcats and Scotland (pic by John Preece)

“We’ve always had Scottish representation, but Rob in particular is a home-grown talent from Wildcats so it’s really great to see that come through.

“Hopefully myself, Becky and Rob are just going to continue to inspire all the youngsters we’ve got.

“We’ve got a really, really talented bunch of young boys and girls who are involved in a lot of the Scottish age groups so it’s important they keep pushing and make it through to the seniors.”

Becky did play in Glasgow four years ago, when the Scots finished sixth, but it’s a first Games for striker Rob who only made his Scotland debut - and scored - in a tournament in Malaga earlier this year.

The former Douglas Academy pupil has been with the club since he was eight, coming through the ranks and representing Scotland at under-16, 18, 21 and now full level.

He said: “My first caps were just a week before selection came out and I’d only had three caps so it seemed like it would be a bit too late in the day, so I wasn’t expecting it.

“Individually I just want to make as big an impact as I can. It’s a really big opportunity to show what I can do at this level.

“As a team everybody in our pool is ranked higher than us in the world - we’ve got Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

“Our two target games are against Canada and South Africa and they’re our first two games so if we were to win those I think we’re in with a good chance of finishing in the top four.

“Obviously a medal’s the dream but we want to just take each game as it comes and assess where we can go from there.”

Similarly the ladies are also in a tough group.

Kareena said: “We’ve got a cracker of a draw - we’ve got New Zealand and Australia. Australia in a home game is going to be unreal. It’s going to be really, really tough for us.

“We’ve also got Canada and Ghana and these will be the two teams we’ll essentially target to take results from.

“You always want to better where you are so our target is to finish fifth or anything above that.

“We’re being realistic - to finish in the top four would really surpass all our expectations but you don’t go to the Commonwealth Games and not try to push it to get into the medals.”

The Games take place from April 4-15.