Western Wildcats pair are European hockey champions

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

Thursday, 26th July 2018, 5:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th July 2018, 5:12 pm
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

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.”