Five Borders hockey players have been selected to represent their country at international level this weekend.
This is the highest number ever to be chosen from the area at the one time to perform this honour.
Emily Newlands (Selkirk) and Claire Hill (Kelso) will play in the Scotland Under-18 squad at the Four Nations Tournament next month, while Morven Cawthorn (Selkirk), Lucy Inglis (Earlston HS) and Kirsty Millar (Berwickshire HS) will join the Under-16s. All five are members of the Borders Hockey Development squad, coached by Janet Jack and Pippa Bell, and all apart from Claire, who plays her hockey at Watsonians, play for the Tweedbank-based Borders Fjordhus outfit.
Coach Jack, who is no stranger to international hockey herself, told The Southern: “This is a tremendous step forward for Borders hockey.
“Five young players representing Scotland is the largest number of players that we have had all at the one time representing the country.
“They should all be very proud of their selection as they are extremely hard working, conscientious young athletes who sacrifice a great deal to play and perform at this level.
“The recent introduction of weekly junior development squads and the Borders performance squad in the area has allowed them to train more frequently and with greater quality in the Borders without having to travel to the city.”
The girls, having already played at either under-16 or development level nationally, will experience their first taste of competitive international hockey this year when they travel to Lillieshall, England, for the tournament, which starts today and ends on Monday.
Emily, who has already played for Scotland at Under-16 level, told us: “This is the one I really wanted as it’s the first of the season, so I’m really chuffed to have been chosen.”
And former Scotland development player Lucy added: “I was surprised when I found out I was going, but I’m really looking forward to it. We’re expecting some really hard games, but everyone is really positive about it and hopefully we can provide a few surprises ourselves.”
Both squads will play their counterparts from England, Germany and the Netherlands in a round robin format to determine each team’s position in the pool standings.
The teams will then progress to gold and bronze medal matches, where first plays second, and third plays fourth.
“Playing the top three teams in Europe will be really challenging, but I’m really looking forward to it,” said Emily.
“Realistically, our aim is to finish in third, the German and Dutch girls are miles ahead of us in terms of development as hockey is their national sport along with football, but we will give it our best, a win against England would be amazing.”
All five will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of prospective Commonwealth squad member Sarah Robertson from Selkirk who already plays for her country at senior level, and hopes to continue this season.