Great Britain international Alan Forsyth skippers Scotland in his fourth Commonwealth Games as the Blue Sticks face Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan in an Pool A in Birmingham.
Left out are Kenny Bain, one of Scotland’s most decorated players, ex-Great Britain international Dan Coultas, player/coach to Watsonians, and Hamish Imrie, player/coach to the University of Edinburgh who last season became the first Scottish university to be promoted to the top tier of British university hockey.
Paisley-raised Forsyth said: “If you had asked me when I was 16 or 17 when I got my first cap, I wouldn’t have thought I’d make it to four Commonwealth Games, so it’s an absolute honour to pull on the jersey again.
“When I think back to the 2010 Commonwealth Games – I think I was 17 – I remember playing India in Delhi and it was an unreal moment standing there for the Indian national anthem in front of 16,000 singing home fans. For me, as I get older, it’s really important to sing the anthem and take all these things in, and I’m looking forward to that in Birmingham.”
He added: “It’s great to be captain, but we have a good leadership group and the young ones coming through are leaders in their own right. I’m really excited for this squad.”
Grange goalkeeper David Forrester (pictured by Mark Pugh earning his 50th cap last weekend, coach Forsyth presenting) makes the trip after having to withdraw through injury from the squad which travelled to the Gold Coast Games in 2018.
Forrester explained: “Four years ago, when I missed out, I set myself the target of being there in four years’ time, so being selected for the Games has always been the light at the end of the tunnel, and a lot of effort is coming to fruition for me right now.”
Western Wildcats trio – Callum Duke, Rob Harwood, and Andy McConnell – who helped their club win the domestic Grand Slam this year, make the line-up.
Duke, a former University of Edinburgh player, said: “It’s a huge thing for Western Wildcats to have three players selected, more so for Rob and Andrew who grew up at the club, but all the Scotland players at the club trained together all year with this summer as a goal in mind. We’ve been going down early for training and all those sessions have contributed to the three of us being there.”
Birmingham will be a second Games for Grange player Duncan Riddell who said: “It was such a good feeling when I heard the news. I was incredibly nervous before but now I just can’t wait to get going for what’s close to a home games, which will be so different from the last one. My family were incredibly proud when they heard the news, there were tears on the phone, so it’s a big moment.
“The Games are just down the road so I think we’ll have a big following, I know all my friends and family have started buying tickets. I can’t wait to be part of it.”
Glasgow-born Hamburg-based youngster, Struan Walker, is also heading to his first Commonwealth Games with fellow debutants and brothers Cammy and Jamie Golden, from Dundee. Walker said: “I’m buzzing, and my family are all ecstatic, it’s going to be a great experience. I’m looking forward to coming up against some of the best teams in the world and just enjoy the experience of testing myself on a stage like the Commonwealth Games.”
In another family tie Murray Collins has been selected after his sister, Robyn Collins, was selected for the women’s squad.
The hockey competition runs from 29 July to 8 August at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre.
Scotland: Tommy Alexander, Struan Walker (Der Club An Der Alster), Michael Bremner, Cammy Golden (UHC Hamburg, Germany), Andy Bull (Old Georgians), Murray Collins, Robbie Shepherdson, Ed Greaves (Teddington), Callum Duke, Andy McConnell, Rob Harwood (Western Wildcats), Rob Field (Holcombe), Dave Forrester, Duncan Riddell (Grange), Alan Forsyth (HGC, Holland), Jamie Golden (Surbiton), Callum Mackenzie (Wimbledon), Lee Morton (Old Georgians)