No medals but plenty of pride for World Cup hockey stars

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HAWICK’s hockey heroines returned from representing Scotland’s over-40 women’s team at the Hockey Masters World Cup with their heads held high last weekend.

Jackie Wilson and Denise Fairbairn, among the staff at Wilton school, and team manager Pippa Bell, employed at Hawick Knitwear, led the national team to some impressive results at Canterbury in England but could not quite carry the nation to a medal triumph.

After an opening day loss to eventual gold medalists New Zealand, Scotland went on to beat Wales, South Africa and Ireland. They retained hopes of winning the tournament going into their final game with England, but capitulated to a 4-0 defeat to round off a gruelling schedule of fixtures.

“It was a really good experience, though, particularly the on-field performances and being picked to play,” said Jackie, 44, of Stirches.

She harbours ambitions of being selected for next year’s Home Nations tournament in Dublin, as well as the next World Cup – also in Ireland’s capital – the following year.

“We’d like to finish higher in the Home Nations than we have done in the last two years. We have been runners-up twice, but it would be good to win.”

The additional needs assistant says the improving state of the game locally means there may be future talent worthy of a national team call-up.

“The hockey is really good at high school level – right through from first year you’re encouraged to play for the school,” she said. “It wasn’t as popular when I was young, but there are now far more girls and boys playing.”