Maris and Rhona go on the defensive in The Hague

Maris Cawthorn (left) and Rhona Gowans flew the flag for Borders' hockey in The Hague
Maris Cawthorn (left) and Rhona Gowans flew the flag for Borders' hockey in The Hague

Two local girls have returned victorious from the Netherlands with Scotland’s Under-16 International Girls Hockey squad, after a very successful weekend at the annual Youth International Easter Hockey Tournament.

The superb Scots won every game against stiff opposition at The Hague.

Maris Cawthorn of Selkirk High School and Galashiels Academy pupil Rhona Gowans were overjoyed with their team’s performance.

“The whole experience was amazing, I learned so much from playing against older, more experienced girls,” said Maris. “Coming home with the trophy just made it even more memorable.”

Not only did the team win the competition, but they also came away with the ‘Fair Play’ award.

The event involved teams from Russia, Poland, South Africa, New Zealand, USA, Holland, Belgium, Australia and Germany.

Maris and Rhona featured in every match involving Scotland and played a key defensive role to secure each win.

Between them, they presented a very formidable defence, with the team conceding only four goals in the entire tournament.

Many hours of training, early starts and fitness tests were rewarded in a nail-biting final when Scotland secured victory with a 2-1 win.

These international matches are an essential component in the girls’ development towards senior hockey squads.

The girls would like to say a huge thank you to the Athlete Support Programme in the Borders, which is the envy of many of their teammates, as well as Clubsport Ettrick & Lauderdale and their personal sponsors for this trip, Lochcarron of Scotland and Ceta Precision Engineering, Tweedbank. Rhona would also like to thank The Rowan Boland Trust for their continued support.

z Also hitting the international hockey trail recently were Leia Mackinnon and Lucy Inglis, both from Earlston High School.

Both girls were selected for the Under-18 Scotland squad that travelled to Germany for a European challenge match at the end of last month, while last week, the pair took part in the Tri Nations against Wales and Ireland.

“I am delighted that all my hard work has paid off, resulting in my selection for the squad,” said Leia. “I was so proud to wear the Scotland strip on the pitch in both Germany and Glasgow.”

Both events proved to be a significant learning experience for the players ahead of the Under-18 Nations Championship in Spain this summer.