Men's 1's stars head for Austria

Folllowing a period of rest after the cup final, several of the double winning squad are in action this weekend as the Scootland Under 21 squad head to Austria to take on their hosts in a test series as part of their build up to the European Championships at the end of July.

The squad is coached by Derek Forsyth and he is joined by David and Alan Forsyth, Gordon McIntyre, Michael Bremner and set piece expert Josh Cairns. The squad will be looking to set the tone for a campaign which they hope will end with promotion to the top tier of European competition
Two years ago the Scots youngsters underperformed at the elite Championship tournament in San Sebastian and were consequently relegated, despite beating Austria 5-2 in their final encounter.  Promotion from the lower-tier Trophy is the target for Forsyth, and the first hurdle will be to overcome Italy, Wales and Azerbaijan in the pool stages.
The Austrian matches this weekend are important to Forsyth`s plans.  ?We`re still finalising the final shape of the team and looking not only at one or two positions but also some cover options for others.   We would hope by the end of these two matches that what few questions we`re still asking would be answered,? said Forsyth.

But it has not been all sweetness and light for Forsyth.  ?After an extensive programme in the spring, we`ve been unfortunate that some key players have picked up injuries and to compound matters we`ve also had a number of players withdrawing from the squad.?   The main injury victim is Chris Grassick but Forsyth is hoping that the talented  Inverleith player will still make the final selection for the Europeans.

However, there is a lot of experience in Forsyth`s squad with Gordon McIntyre, Wei Adams, John Harris, Allan Forsyth, Kenny Bain and Grassick all members of Scotland`s senior team that returned from the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand with a bronze medal.  Also, others picked up their first senior caps in the last series of matches against Ireland.

?This appears to be a very close group of players, similar to the squad that gained promotion in Gibraltar four years ago, so we hope this togetherness will also be a major asset to us,? remarked Forsyth.  ?We also have one of the best penalty corner drag flickers in the country in Josh Cairns who we hope will be a major threat in forthcoming games.?

Forsyth`s faith in the 18 year old Kelburne defender is already well founded.  In a four nations tournament at the beginning of April Cairns scored twice from set pieces in the 4-2 defeat of Poland and then proceeded to demolish France with a hat-trick of penalty corner strikes in another 4-2 victory.

In the Great Britain Super League the Paisley teenager again made his mark playing for the under 21 squad, this time he found the net six times from set pieces in four games against the cream of British hockey.

Positive results against Austria this weekend would be a boost to the young Scots as they might face the same side again in the crucial cross-over matches at the later stages of the Trophy tournament next month.
Source:SHU Website